Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project engineer says 95 percent work complete

Nepal’s first 800-meter underpass between Khasi Bazaar and Bafal Chowk along the Ring Road will open at the end of next month, a project official said on Tuesday.

Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project (KRRIP) Engineer Niranjan Sharma said 95 percent work is complete. “We plan to open this section of the road around end of June. This section will spare commuters traffic hassles,” he said.

Workers have completed asphalting and plastering half of the portion of the underpass towards Khasi Bazaar side. Crews have to complete asphalting on the remaining 400-meter section of Bafal Chowk.“This won’t take long. Crews have already flattened the base of the road section. We only need to plaster and give it finishing touches,” said Sharma.

The remaining task includes plastering the wall, applying paint on it, and installing traffic signs and symbols, and fitting lights. The four-lane underpass in Kalanki is part of the 10.5km Kalanki-Koteshwor stretch along the Ring Road. Once the underpass opens, vehicles that use the Ring Road will smoothly pass through the underpass. Separate service lanes in both directions on the upper deck of the underpass would facilitate local traffic.

Kalanki is notorious for traffic snarls. Every day scores of commuters leaving the valley from Kalanki and those who travel via the Ring Road routinely deal with traffic congestion and the obnoxious exhaust of diesel vehicles.The traffic department says around 70,000 people travel every day in over 8,000 public and private vehicles. Traffic jams at Kalanki affect these people.

“I am hopeful, it took long time to complete, but this will save our time for three hours,” said Ratan Singh Rawal, originally from Rautahat, who lives in Bafal now.“The government should repair the road section from Kalanki to Nagdhunga as well,” said the 78-year-old senior citizen, a former officer at the Department of Road. He was one of the onlookers of the construction work at the site.

The opening of the underpass is not only going to ease the traffic, it will also help to reduce the traffic jams in other parts of the valley such as New Bus Park area, Balkhu, Tripureshwor and Ratnapark area. “This will be a great relief for the traffic police as well. The traffic jam in one point directly affects another,” said Mukunda Marasini, Deputy Superintendent at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.

The underpass that comes under Koteshwor-Kalanki road section is being built on the China’s grant of Rs 5.13 billion. Engineers estimate, the underpass have the durability of 50 years. Officials said two dozen Chinese workers and over 100 Nepali workers are deployed at the construction site.Its work started in 2013.

The earthquake in 2015 affected its progress as well as the shortage of construction materials, and the India’s trade embargo that caused fuel crises fuel in the country.