Second phase of ring road expansion from Kalanki to Maharajgung likely to start in the new yearDepartment of Roads expects to clear road section of trees and electric poles within the next two months
The second phase of expansion of 8.2 km Kalanki-Balaju-Maharajgung road section is likely to start from early 2020, according to a senior official at the Department of Roads.
Amrit Mani Rijal, a senior divisional engineer at the department, told the Post that the two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last weekend has given hopes to project starting on time.
He said the department would clear all trees and electric poles along the stretch of the road within a timeframe of two months.
The Chinese government had been expected to submit the design of the project before October 2018.
“The department has chopped 200 trees. We have already marked 2,057 trees for cutting within two months,” said Rijal. He also said the department is working to remove electric poles on the road sections.
Many city residents and environmental activists have protested cutting down of the trees along the road section.
“They are protesting just in the name of protest. The government will plant double the number of trees that will be axed. We need a better and larger infrastructure of road,” said Rijal.
The road expansion will be taking place under the Chinese government’s funding. Earlier the Chinese government had officially handed over the 10.5km Kalanki-Koteshwor road expansion project in late January this year.
It took five years to complete the first section for which China had spent Rs 5.13 billion but the road has been termed a killer road as this road has witnessed several deaths and injuries due to the lack of crosswalks and overhead bridges, among other road safety infrastructure.
The road’s design has long been criticised for not being pedestrian and cyclist friendly.
Arjun Jung Thapa, chief of the foreign coordination division said, the past mistake will not be repeated in the second phase of the road expansion. “We have learnt the lesson from the first project, we will try our best not to get any complaints about the second project,” said Thapa.
He, however, said that it can’t be said immediately how the structure of the road is going to be as the department has not got the complete road design yet.
Thapa further said that for the expansion of the road, the statues of Buddha in Swyambhunath and the 132 kv transmission line that lies between Banasthali and Swyambhu will need to be removed. For the transmission line, the department is consulting with the Nepal Electricity Authority.
Thapa said the road department is facing difficulties for the expansion of road in Maharajgunj as the road on both sides is narrow.
As per the information provided by the Ring Road Improvement Project, as many as100 electric poles have already been removed from the area in coordination with the electricity authority.
Amrit Mani Rimal, a senior official at the project, said that for the removal of the electric poles, the project office has allocated Rs107 million, while there has also been talk about offering compensation to houses and hotels that lie within 250-metre periphery of the road in the area for the road expansion.