Despite several obstruction created by various government agencies including Ministry of Forest and Environment, the Kathmandu-Madhes Fast Track (Expressway) project has achieved formidable physical progress in seven years.
In terms of the percentage, it is around 29 percent, the project is making progress in the tunnel and bridge construction.
The expressway road project, which is one of the national pride projects of the government, was entrusted to Nepali Army six years ago.
The overall physical progress by January 14 this year since the Army took over the project construction has been 29.62 per cent.
The progress of the project up to last mid-October was at 29.19 per cent.
Similarly, the project office has said that the overall financial progress including the mobilisation of the project up to mid-January stood at 30.45 per cent.
Out of 13 construction packages, six packages are under construction with selection of contractors in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and process of selecting contractor are underway.
According to the office, international bidding was called for the package no. 8 (A) and 9 (A) on April 21, 2023 and package no. 9 (B) on April 23, and after none of the builders were qualified, the procurement process was canceled and the bids were invited again on July 13, and the bids were opened on August 30 and the bidding is in the process of evaluation. This package site work lies around Sisneri-Makkhubesi of Makwanpur district.
Similarly, the project has signed an agreement with CREGC-COVEC JV for package no. 10 in Mahadevtar section on January 5.
There is an agreement with the research and training unit of Pulchowk Engineering Campus for a detailed feasibility study at the starting point of the expressway in Khokana section under package no. 11. After the report is made available, the land purchase process along the section will also begin, the office said.
The 72.5 km Expressway, which will be the shortest route between Kathmandu and the Tarai, comprises 55.5 km of road, six tunnels with a combined length of 6.41 km, and several bridges measuring a total of 10.59 km.
According to the project, 89 bridges will be constructed under the project, and from package no. 1 to 7, 62 bridges are under construction.
In addition, it is mentioned in the progress report of the project that the construction work of five bridges has been completed till mid-January of the current fiscal.
Under the project, construction of structures such as sub-base, air engineering, sewerage, retaining walls and service roads are being constructed in various sections of the Expressway.
So far, the project has acquired 4,776 ropani land of different individuals while 396 ropani of land is yet to be acquired. Similarly, according to the approved environmental impact assessment report, the project has to cut 38,664 trees but so far 28,646 trees have been cut down.
On May 4, 2017, the government had given the Nepali Army to complete the construction of the project starting from Kathmandu to Nijgadh in Bara within four years.
As per the agreement, the contractor was given a deadline of four years to complete the project construction. In September 2022, the new deadline was set for November, 2024. And again, the deadline has been extended till April, 2027.
The story is originally published in The Rising Nepal and revised with new update.