October 19: The Department of Roads (DoR) is preparing to call tender bids for upgrading the Nagdhunga-Malekhu section of Prithvi Highway, which is the major entry route to the capital Kathmandu.
The tender for the project worth Rs 16 billion will be issued between the festivals of Dashain and Tihar, according to DoR officials.
The department decided to call for national and international tenders to upgrade the 96-kilometer road section after World Bank approved financial assistance for the project more than four months ago.
The same section of Prithvi Highway was earlier expanded with the financial assistance from the World Bank around three decades ago. This time, the World Bank’s support will be utilized to construct 22 new bridges, for which the department has decided to call for tender bids.
The World Bank has already approved a loan assistance of USD 450 million (Rs 54.28 billion) for upgrading roads and adopting road safety measures in Nepal.
According to government officials, the Nagdhunga-Malekhu section will be upgraded in the first phase of the support programme. The Detailed Project Report of this road section has already been prepared.
However, Deputy Director of the Development Assistance Implementation Division of the DoR Arjun Jung Thapa informed that the upgrading works and construction of bridges will not be initiated in the current fiscal year.
“This year, we will call for tender bids, sign agreements with the contractors, clear the sites and complete other works,” said Thapa, adding, “The upgrading work will start from the winter of next fiscal year.”
He informed that upgrading the road section will take a lot of time because of the delay in international tender bidding process.