Rains affect road projectsOfficials have said that rainy weather and its effects on the streets have slowed down road construction projects in Kathmandu Valley.
The focus of the ongoing road expansion drive in Kathmandu has now shifted to speedy construction and black-topping of the roads that have already been widened but are in critical condition, thus hampering the flow of traffic and making it difficult for pedestrians to walk or cross the road, said officials at the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Implementation Committee (KVTDIC).
They, however, assured that construction works along the already expanded roads of the valley will not halt completely. The plan is to take the projects slowly for now, they said.
“Of course, our first priority is the construction of the already expanded roads, some of which have seen no construction works. Currently, the roads in the Capital city are in a deplorable state. Many major streets and junctions have failed to get any attention from the responsible authorities,” said Bhai Kaji Tiwari, the chief of KVTDIC.
One of the main reasons behind holding back the expansion drive is that the authorities do not want the house owners to suffer possible displacement through the demolishment of their houses during the monsoon.
“Many houses and buildings still need to be bulldozed for the forthcoming road widening projects. But we do not want people to witness their houses being demolished and get displaced during the rainy season,” said Tiwari. For now, the KVTDIC only plans to raze temporary structures like compound walls.
Meanwhile, no visible changes have been witnessed in major thoroughfares of Kathmandu despite the commitments from authorities that they will finish the construction works notwithstanding the monsoon. Piles of debris and culverts are left on the roadside, adding to the difficulties of the pedestrians as well as vehicles plying the streets. Going by the current pace of work, construction works along Battisputali-Old Baneshwor, Maitidevi- Dillibazar and Lainchaur-Balaju road sections are likely to be finished after monsoon. Similarly, the Balkumari road section in Ring Road remains in critical state with the onset of monsoon.
Despite numerous instructions from the government, road officials say it is impossible to complete the works along all the expanded roads in the valley.
“We are trying our level best to make the roads at least slightly bearable for the monsoons,” said Gopal Khadka, chief at the Kathmandu Division of the Department of Roads (DoR).
Just last week, the government had directed all the authorities involved to blacktop at least 25 km of the expanded road in the Valley by the end of this fiscal year. The Prime Minister’s Office has targeted to blacktop 111 km of road, of which more than 86 km have been currently tarred.
Authorities cite lack of coordination among different government agencies behind the sluggish work pace. The road department blames the Kathmandu Upateyeka Khanepani Limited, which supplies drinking water to the valley residents, for delaying the water pipe installation. They also hold Nepal Telecom responsible for not relocating their utility poles in time.
The water authority, on the other hand, has slammed the road department for not creating a favourable environment to carry out their work.
It is impossible to blacktop major roads during the monsoon season, but other construction works can be undertaken without much difficulty, said Tiwari.