Two years after safety audit, Department of Roads plans to construct ‘flyover’ at GwarkoTransportation and traffic engineers say unless pedestrians and cyclists are safe, flyovers won’t reduce road accidents.
Two years after commissioning a ‘safety audit,’ of the Kalanki-Koteshwor road section, the Department of Roads has finally announced plans to construct a flyover at Gwarko Chowk within a year to ease traffic flow and minimise accidents.
If constructed this would be the first flyover in the country.
“As per the recommendations of the safety audit, we had also planned a flyover or an underpass at two other junctions at Satdobato and Ekantakuna. But it needed further study,” said Bijaya Jaishi, director at the Quality Research and Development Centre under the Department of Roads. “We approved the flyover at Gwarko as road structure is perfect for a flyover,” said
The flyover will be built using the grade separation method under which a junction of two or more surface transport axes at different heights (grades) are aligned so that there will be no disruption in traffic flow on other transit routes when they cross each other.
According to the department, the flyover will be constructed on the north-south part of the eight-lane road and only four lanes will be used for the flyover. Jaishi said after the flyover is completed, vehicles heading to Imadol from Patan will use the existing road, and those heading to Satdobato from Koteshwor (or the other way round) will use the flyover 35-meter flyover.
Jaishi said the final design of the new structure will be revealed in two weeks. He however, didn’t reveal the estimated price tag of the project. “The total expected cost of the flyover will be made public along with the final design. We will immediately communicate the amount needed to the Ministry of Finance,” said Jaishi.
The department will issue a tender to construct the flyover once the amount is released by the Finance Ministry.
“Since a flyover is very important for the road, we will complete it within a year,” said Jaishi.
Metropolitan Traffic Police Division welcomed the department’s decision. “This will be very helpful in reducing traffic jams,” said Superintendent Shyam Krishna Adhikari, spokesperson for the division. According to traffic police, Gwarko to B&B Hospital areas are prone to accidents.
“The department also should look for alternatives at Satdobato, Mahalaxmisthan Chowk, Ekantakuna, Sanepa and Balkhu to manage traffic jams and accidents in the area,” said Adhikari.
However, Ashish Gajurel, a transportation and traffic engineer said just constructing a flyover will not resolve the issue of accidents. “Constructing new infrastructure does not equate to reduction in accidents, authorities should implement measures to safeguard pedestrians and cyclists,” said Gajurel.
The division’s data shows that over 1,000 accidents and five dozen deaths have taken place on the 10.5km Kalanki-Koteshwor road section since the road came into operation.
The China-funded project, which began in June 2013 and was handed over to Nepal on January 29, 2019, cost Rs5.13 billion to build.
After the widespread criticism over accidents and deaths on the road, the department commissioned a ‘road safety audit’ in the second week of February in 2019. However, no significant changes have been made to the road section.
Police say that due to lack of CCTV cameras and street lamps, they are unable to catch traffic rule violators at night.
Only last week, a 19-year-old died on the spot after she was hit by a speeding vehicle in Ekantakuna.
The audit had also suggested the installation of traffic signals at 213 places along the entire road stretch, including Balkumari, Gwarko, Satdobato, Chapagaun Dobato, Mahalaxmisthan, Ekantakuna, Nakkhu, Manohara bridge, Kalanki, Dhobighat, Khasibazar and Sanepa Chowk.
However, even after two years, the work has not been completed yet.