Recovery of roads and bridges damaged by floods and landslides to cost Rs220 millionExperts say haphazard construction without proper study lead aggravates damage to infrastructure
Recent floods and landslides that caused the deaths of at least 90 people also led to a huge damage to the infrastructure related to roads and bridges.
The cost of rehabilitation and recovery of these structures damaged in the second week of July will be around Rs220 million, according to the initial estimate of the Department of Roads.
This is the estimated cost for immediate rehabilitation and recovery of the infrastructure. Disasters triggered by incessant rains damaged more than 50 roads and bridges around the country. Rehabilitation and recovery of them will cost from Rs100,000 to Rs20 million depending on the project and the severity of damage.
“As the rainy season continues, we can expact more damage to infrastructure in the days to come,” said Shiva Hari Sapkota, spokesperson for the department.
“There has not been a big rainfall in western parts of the country and we must be prepared for potential damages in the region too once rains start to affect the area.”
He said that four offices of the Federal Road Supervision Offices located in Itahari, Kathmandu, Pokhara and Surkhet are working to rehabilitate any roads and bridges damaged by the landslides and floods.
One of the ways badly damaged by the recent floods is the Koshi-Kamala section of East-West Highway. There is a huge pothole at Mirchaiya where the road should be repaired with reinforced cement concrete (RCC) and drainage should also be built, the department said. This is expected to cost around Rs20 million—the highest cost of recovering a road section damaged by the recent disasters.
There are several potholes at the same road section. The department says it will take an additional Rs10 million to plug these potholes. Around 40 percent of the road section has several large potholes.
There has been a massive damage to the Mirchaiya-Katari-Ghurmi road in Udayapur as floods and landslides hit the link in different parts. The department said there is a risk of accidents in some sections of the road if vehicular movement is allowed without repair and maintenance.
Landslide has badly hit the road at Thanthi Bhanjyang, requiring the need to open a new track and erect a retention wall.
The combined cost of opening the new route and building the wall will be Rs15 million, according to the department.
Damages caused in other parts of the same road will cost around Rs7 million to clear the landslides and build walls.
After the floods swept away different parts of the Biratnagar-Rangeli-Urlabari road, repair works are estimated to cost around Rs21.5 million. While these are some of the road sections requiring relatively large funds for recovery, many other projects will take resources up to Rs10 million, the department said.
Every monsoon, roads and bridges are damaged by the floods and landslides. However, experts said such damages could be reduced if infrastructure is built after proper study.
Padma Shahi, a transport expert, told the Post that construction of roads and bridges without proper geological study results in high rates of damage to the infrastructure. “Obviously, infrastructure faces the risk of damage during the monsoon but heavy damages could be avoided if infrastructure is built by studying the geology properly,” said Shahi, who is working as a consultant for a road safety programme at the Transport Department.
He added that the current trend of opening tracks everywhere using excavators had made soil erosion and landslides common. The Road Department spends Rs4-5 billion on the maintenance of roads and bridges every year. Around Rs4.5 billion was allocated for the purpose last fiscal year.
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