Nagdhunga Tunnel Breakthrough Will Be Soon: Minister Jwala

Nagdhunga Tunnel Breakthrough Will Be Soon: Minister Jwala

July 19, 2023, 9:22 a.m.

Physical Infrastructure and Transport Minister Prakash Jwala said that in four months, the main tunnel and emergency tunnel construction will be 'break through' in July. He said that Only 525 Meters of Nagadhunga tunnel remain to be excavated.

A team including Physical Infrastructure and Transport Minister Jwala and State Minister Nanda Chapai reached the construction site on Tuesday to understand the progress of the tunnel. The team has conducted on-site monitoring of both east-west sections.

Minister Jwala claims that there will be a 'break through' in the construction of the main tunnel within four months if no problems arise

2.163 km has been excavated in four years since the construction of Nagadhunga-Sisnekhola tunnel. The distance of the main tunnel is 2.688 km. Now 525 meters of tunnel construction is 'break through'.

An emergency tunnel has also been dug for 2.501 km, making the total tunnel distance 2.557 km. Only 56 meters are left to dig the emergency tunnel. If the work can be done at this rate, it is said that the main tunnel will be "break through" in four months and the emergency tunnel will be constructed in July.

The Nagadhunga-Sisnekhola tunnel project claims that traffic will run through the tunnel in December 2018 if there is no problem in the construction. Currently, construction work is being done at Tutipakha in Chandragiri, Kathmandu and Sisnekhola in Dhunibesi Municipality, Dhading. 969.80 meters tunnel towards Kathmandu (eastern section) and 1193.20 meters towards Dhading (western section) have been excavated.

Overall, 89.20 percent of the tunneling work has been completed..

According to the contract, the construction of the tunnel, which was started in October 2007, should be completed within 42 months. As per the initial contract agreement, the period is only till 080 Baisakh 13. According to the project, the construction work could not be completed within the specified time due to covid. After the work was not completed as per the time mentioned in the contract, the deadline was extended till July 4, 080. As the work could not be completed within that time, the deadline has been extended for the second time till 081 Baisakh 13. The physical progress of the overall project is 55.13 percent in the four years since construction began. Although there is a 'break through' in the construction of the tunnel, it is said that it will take another year to operate the traffic. The reason is that after the 'break through', it will take time to work on oxygen and lighting management inside the tunnel.

Physical Minister Jwala says that since the tunnel is the first to carry traffic in Nepal, the work is being done as soon as possible. "The ministry is working on it as a priority, it should be quality work," he said. He says that the work will be organized and carried forward in a planned manner to complete the project quickly.

The compensation for about 16 annas of land in the flyover construction area at Balambu in Kathmandu is yet to be paid. Similarly, the locals have repeatedly stopped the construction work saying that 60 houses on the east side of the project have been damaged. It is said that a committee has been formed to solve this problem and the study has been started through the building department. Similarly, the locals of Tutipakha area have been demanding that the water source has dried up after the construction of the tunnel. There is also a problem of landslide near the tunnel construction site towards Dhading.

Minister Jwala said that as there are some problems around the tunnel construction site along with the compensation, the process of resolving them is going on. "We have solved the major problems and proceeded with the work," he said. Navinman Shrestha, head of the Nagadhunga-Sisnekhola tunnel project, which is currently under construction, says. According to him, the construction of fly over is going on at Balambu. Similarly, construction of retaining wall has been started on the access road on the west side of this area. Japanese company Hazma Endo Corporation has taken charge of its construction.

Japan has loan assistance of 16.5 billion rupees for construction. The contract is worth 22.5 billion rupees. Nepal government has 6 billion rupees in it. 13 billion 20 crore 75 lakh rupees have been spent on the construction. According to the project, 3 underpasses, 4 box culverts, one overpass and 3 bridges have been constructed so far.

After the construction of the tunnel, the road will be shortened by 7.5 km, and the passengers will get rid of the problem of traffic jams in Nagadhunga uphill. Motorcycles, tankers carrying petroleum products, gas bullets will not be allowed to move through the tunnel.

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