The Kanti Highway—a nearly 90-km-long feeder road connecting Lalitpur, Satdobato to Buddha Chowk, Hetauda—which is currently undergoing upgradation works, is expected to be fully operational by October after missing its April deadline.
The shortest road link between Kathmandu and Hetauda was inaugurated by then King Mahendra, 63 years ago. After nearly six decades of work, the highway was expected to be operational by mid-April, 2019. Delay in expansion of few stretches along the highway has pushed the project deadline yet again.
According to project officials, the highway could not be made ready in the stipulated time for lack of blasting materials.
“We plan to complete and allow movement of freighters and passenger buses through the Kanti Lokpath by October, 2019,” Amindra Khadka, project’s information officer said. “The project will conclude expansion and blacktopping of almost all portions within the revised deadline.”
At present, the construction crews have blacktopped 33 km in two stretches—25 km in Makawanpur and 8 km in Lalitpur while 40 km of the road is still gravel.
The project has also planned to blacktop the gravel portion soon and it has established an asphalt plant in Baguwa to accomplish blacktopping targets.
To expand a 6 km portion—2 km in Lalitpur and 4 km in Makawanpur—the project recently procured blasting materials for construction companies working on the stretch and has asked the latter to finish expansion of the portions within six months.
The expansion project had come to grinding halt for lack of blasting materials.
“As soon as the aforementioned portions are expanded, passenger buses and large freight trucks can easily ply on the highway,” project chief Binod Sapkota said. “In the meantime, we will conclude blacktopping the remaining stretches.”
Currently, the Kathmandu valley road improvement project and Road division office, Lalitpur are upgrading an 11 km road stretch from Tika Bhairav to Lalitpur.
The project is facing issues in widening the 6 km section in Makwanpur and Lalitpur as both portions have dense rocks which need heavy blasting.
Earlier, the project had drilled holes in the rocks to blast them but the Nepal army was unable to provide the blasting materials, which had delayed the project.
According to the project, around 65 percent of the expansion works have concluded, till date.
As soon as the Kanti Highway comes into operation, it is expected to slash the travel time for travellers commuting on the Kathmandu-Hetauda route drastically as it will serve as a shorter alternative route to the existing 226 km road link between Kathmandu to Hetauda via Mugling and 136 km road between Kathmandu to Hetauda via Palung.
The government has allocated Rs600 million for upgrading the highway in the current fiscal year.
The project has widened the single-lane road to a 8.5 metre double lane road with high quality asphalt blacktopping, allowing two-way movement of cargo trucks as well as passenger buses.
The Kathmandu Post