Road upgrade underway along 24-km Dharke-Sitapaila sectionCompletion is much-awaited since the section is set to become an important alternative to Naubise-Nagdhunga road.
The Department of Roads plans to complete the ongoing upgrade of the Dharke-Sitapaila road section—an alternative to the jam-prone Naubise-Nagdhunga road—within the next two years.
The Department of Roads had commenced the upgrade work, including road-widening, the building of retaining walls and roadside drainage as well as blacktopping of the 24-km Dharke-Sitapaila section, in May last year by dividing the work into Dhading stretch and Kathmandu stretch.
The completion of the upgrade work is much awaited since the road section is set to become an important alternative road to the Naubise-Nagdhunga road that links Kathmandu to the rest of the country.
“The upgrade work is progressing smoothly in both the stretches,” said Amrit Mani Rimal, chief at the Road Division Office in Nuwakot which is responsible for upgrading the 14-km Dhading stretch of the road.
According to him, the road division office plans to complete the work within two years.
“Preparations are on to blacktop a three-kilometre road section from Dharke. CM-Dibyajyoti-Nana JV has been awarded the contract for the blacktopping work. We have already invited tender bids to widen and upgrade the remaining 11-km road from Dharke to Thulokhola on the Dhading side,” said Rimal.
The Road Division Office estimates blacktopping the 14-km Dhading stretch will cost around Rs900 million.
The Dharke-Sitapaila stretch begins from Dharke along the Prithvi Highway in Dhading and links Sitapaila of Kathmandu through Maheshphant, Bhimdhunga and Ramkot. After the completion of the upgrade work, the 24-km two-lane road will be 12 metres wide.
The Division Road Office in Kathmandu has been upgrading the 10-km Sitapaila-Thulokhola road on the Kathmandu side. The five-kilometre Sitapaila-Ramkot stretch has been widened and blacktopped at the cost of Rs270 million. The division road office signed a contract agreement with Kanchharam-CM-Bendasi JV this year to upgrade roads along the Ramkot-Thulokhola stretch at the cost of Rs 353 million. The upgrade work on the stretch is currently ongoing.
Naubise-Nagdhunga road serves as the main gateway to Kathmandu for vehicles coming from the eastern, western and southern parts of the country. The 15-km road section is prone to massive traffic jams for hours. According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Office, more than 8,000 vehicles pass through the Naubise-Nagdhunga road on a daily basis.
“Passengers will get relief from hours-long traffic jams along the busy Naubise-Nagdhunga road section with the upgrade of the Dharke-Sitapaila section. We have given due priority to it as it is a crucial alternative road linking the Kathmandu Valley with the rest of the country,” said Rimal. He further argued that the Dharke-Sitapaila road section would be quite helpful during the upgradation work of the Nagdhunga-Mugling road. The government has planned to widen the Nagdhunga-Mugling road to four lanes.
The passage for the Dharke-Sitapaila road section was opened in 1987 but it remained neglected for years. The existing road is too narrow and even light vehicles cannot be operated on it, especially during the rainy season.
The local people are hopeful now as the road upgrade work has gathered momentum lately. “The road is very dusty in normal times and muddy when it rains. Now that the road work is progressing smoothly, we hope we will be relieved of traffic problems,” said Ram Kumar Tamang of Dharke.