Damaged by floods and landslides, Kanti Highway’s deadline pushed further, project officials sayThe monsoon has brought about more than 100 landslides on the highway, causing road sections to cave in at 15 spots.
The deadline for the completion of the Kanti Lokpath Project on the Kanti Highway is set for October, right around Dashain when vehicles ply the highway. But road officials say that the road section will not come into operation by then because repair works on the road will not be complete by then.
The road had been heavily damaged by floods and landslides that occurred in mid-July and vehicular movement on the highway has, for now, come to a complete halt.
Amindra Khadka, an engineer and also the information officer of the project, said there are more than 100 landslides along the highway with cave-ins at 15 road sections. “The road has been damaged by recurring landslides. It will not be operational for vehicles by October as expected,” said Khadka.
The Kanti Highway, a nearly 90-km-long feeder road connecting Satdobato, Lalitpur, to Buddha Chowk, Hetauda, is currently undergoing repair and replacement work. “We first have to clear out the landslide debris in various parts of the road sections,” said another engineer Dipesh Rajak.
“The road section in Makwanpur is at high risk due to multiple landslides,” said Rajak. According to him, workers have started to remove landslide debris and are constructing retaining walls along the highway.
Binod Sapkota, chief of the project, said that the floods and landslides have destroyed road infrastructures worth around Rs 320 million. “Repair and replacement work is slowly gaining momentum now. Hopefully, smaller vehicles will be able to run through the highway within a few days,” said Sapkota.
Kanti Highway is the shortest route that links Kathmandu and Hetauda and was inaugurated by the then King Mahendra 63 years ago. After nearly six decades of work, the highway was expected to be operational by mid-April, 2019.
The construction crew had already blacktopped 33 km in two stretches, 25 km in Makawanpur and 8 km in Lalitpur, but floods and landslides have destroyed around 10 kilometres of the blacktopped road. Around 40km of the road is still gravel. “Floods and landslides along various road sections have pushed the project’s deadline further again,” said Khadka.
According to the project, around 65 percent of the expansion works were concluded before mid-June. The project had widened the single-lane road to an 8.5-metre double lane road with high-quality asphalt blacktopping, allowing two-way movement of cargo trucks as well as passenger buses.
The government has allocated Rs630 million for upgrading the highway in the current fiscal year.