Damauli: Trees are being cut down in an expedited manner along the Tanahu section under Muglin-Pokhara road expansion drive.
Tress along the right and left side of the road at Tanahu section along Prithvi Highway are being chopped down.
Chief of Muglin-Pokhara road project (eastern section), Narendra Subedi, said that they have started to cut down the trees along the road section under the project of expanding Muglin-Pokhara road to four-lane.
Around 50 per cent of trees along Jamune to Aanbukhaireni along the eastern section have already been chopped, he added.
Subedi further said the project has been forwarded the activities to widen the road. Out of 3,163 trees that should be chopped down along the Jamune-Pokhara section, 1,800 trees have been cut down so far.
Activities to shift electric poles and remove huts would be carried out after cutting down trees. A total of 6,750 trees should be cut down at the Tanahu section in course of road expansion. The road project would hand over the trees to forest offices after chopping down, said Assistant Forest Officer at the Division Forest Office, Kashiraj Pandit. The road expansion project has been forwarded dividing it into two sections—Jamune-Aanbukhaireni and Jamune-Pokhara.
The map of this road was prepared in 1969. It is being expanded to a four-lane highway with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) due to the high traffic. Prithvi Highway that links Kathmandu and Pokhara was built with Chinese assistance and was completed in 1974. Being one of the busiest highways in the country, it faces frequent traffic jams. The highway traffic is expected to ease once the project is completed.
The expansion of the 80-kilometre road is contracted out by dividing it into two sections. The contract for the upgrading of the 41.45 kilometres Aanbukhaireni-Jamune eastern sector has been given to China Communication Construction while the contract for the 39 kilometres Jamune-Pokhara western section has been given to a Chinese company- Anhui Kaiyuan Highway and Bridge Company.
The contract for the Aanbukhaireni-Jamune East section is worth Rs 6 billion 213 million 113 thousand while the contract for the Jamune-Pokhara western section is worth Rs 7 billion 404 million 600 thousand.
The highway would be expanded 25 metres on both sides. It will be 41 metres wide when passing through dense settlements. As per its design, it will be 41 metres wide in Damauli and Dumre Bazaar of Tanahu while it will be 46 metres wide from Dulegaunda to Khairenitar Bazaar as well as from Kotre Bazaar area and from Gagangaunda to Pokhara of Kaski.
New bridges would be constructed in place of the existing bridges when the road is expanded into four-lane. Accordingly, 31 new motorable bridges will have to be constructed within the 80 kilometres distance from Aanbukhaireni to Pokhara.
In October 2019, the Asian Development Bank had approved a loan of $195 million to upgrade the 81-km Pokhara-Aanbukhaireni section of Prithvi Highway into four lanes. The government is supposed to invest $59 million into the project as a counterpart fund.