August 31: The Department of Roads (DoR) is studying the feasibility of constructing 18 tunnels and one underpass on various highways and roads.
According to the department, it has already completed the feasibility study of tunnels along the Dharan-Leuti section as well as Manechour-BP Nagar Khutia Dipayal section.
The government is currently undertaking the construction of a tunnel in Nagadhunga. The process of construction of a tunnel in Siddhartha Palpa section of the Siddharth Highway has also progressed ahead.
The department has identified more locations to build tunnels.
Sushilbabu Dhakal, director general of the department, said that a study has been conducted to build tunnels at the places where it is deemed necessary. However, he says that situation is not favourable to begin construction as soon as the study is done.
"We have realized that it is necessary to build tunnels on different roads," said Dhakal, "However, we have to undergo countless processes to build such structures. For example, the construction of Nagadhunga tunnel was discussed in 2012 and the contract was finally signed in 2018.”
He said that the department has identified the places where tunnels need to be built. If it is necessary to build tunnels, the DoR will proceed ahead with the construction by managing resources on the basis of priority.
Although the construction of tunnels is relatively expensive, the government has recently launched a tunnel construction plan to reduce the road distance, traffic congestion and in some cases to reduce loss of life due to landslides.
Nagadhunga tunnel is being constructed with the help of loan from the Japanese government to manage traffic and shorten the distance. The department informed that the construction of a tunnel has been started in Siddhababa, where people's lives are lost due to landslides every year.
The department signed a contract worth Rs 7.34 billion with a Chinese company -- China State – two and a half years ago for the construction of the Siddhababa tunnel. As per the agreement, the tunnel should be completed within five years.