Road and bridge upgrades improving transport in Nepal

New road and bridge upgrades are being introduced in Nepal that will help improve transport and develop the country’s economy.
Finance & Funding / November 1, 2019
Prithvi Highway 1.jpg
A new bridge has been built for the Prithvi Highway Mungling Road Section , connecting Tanahun and Mungling and spanning the Trishuli River

New road and bridge upgrades are being introduced in Nepal that will help improve transport and develop the country’s economy. Funding for some of the work is being provided by the 943 Asian Development Bank (ADB). One of the projects receiving ADB funding is the improvement programme for the Prithvi Highway, with connects capital Kathmandu with the Terai Region. This work will see the route being widened so that it features two lanes in either direction. An 81km stretch of the Prithvi Highway will be upgraded between Pokhara and Abukhaireni. The 8km stretch of the Prithvi Highway from Abukhaireni and Mungling may also be upgraded in the future.

In addition to the widening work, safety features such as guard rail and signalling systems will be installed. Some new bridges have already been built along the highway, with more being planned. The ADB is providing a loan worth US$195 million to help pay for the work, which will boost capacity and safety on the route. The Prithvi Highway improvement work for the 81km Pokhara to Abukhaireni stretch is expected to cost $254 million, with the 5283 Nepalese Government providing the remaining sum. Completion is scheduled for 2025.

In addition to its loan, the ADB is providing a technical assistance grant worth $500,000 to strengthen disaster risk reduction, landslide management, road safety, and procurement in the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and Department of Roads.

The Prithvi Highway is important for Nepal’s internal transport, but also for the country’s international trade. Sandwiched in between China and India, much of Nepal’s trade is with its much larger neighbours. India in particular accounts for 65% of Nepal’s imports and exports according to the ADB. The vast majority of this trade is carried by road but the existing links are hampered in terms of capacity, quality and safety. Improving the road links should help Nepal continue with its current economic progress according to the ADB. The 200km route between Pokhara and Kathmandu currently takes around five hours to drive and the road is limited both in capacity and quality. At present it handles around 7,400 vehicles/day. But Nepal’s growing economic prosperity means that vehicle numbers are increasing rapidly in the country and by 2029, four times as many vehicles are expected to use the route.

Reporting and images courtesy of World Highways’ Nepal correspondent, Ram Krishna Wagle.

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