The preliminary work for the Hetauda-Kulekhani-Kathmandu tunnel highway has begun.
The tunnel highway, being developed by Nepal Infrastructure Development Company (NIDC), is a 58 km long four-way express lane with three tunnels that will connect Kathmandu to Hetauda. The Rs. 34.87 billion project is expected to complete in December 2016.
According to a source at the NIDC, a 2.5 km long service road is being built right now and the digging process for the tunnels will begin soon after. The responsibility of has been given to Mega Tech Engineering, the High Himalayan Construction, United Builders and the Swachhanda Nirman Sewa construction firms.
The tunnel highway starts from the Rapti Bridge in Hetauda and ends at Laljhadi. It will be linked with another tunnel between Bhainse and Pandrang. Another tunnel will be dug from Bhimphedi to Ranikhola and it will link the highway to Balkhu in Kathmandu.
The Hetauda-Narayanghat-Mugling-Kathmandu passage is one a road corridor with one of the highest traffic. THis route is used to transport goods to Kathmandu from Birgunj and other border centres. The road from Hetauda to Kathmandu is approximately 227 kms with travel time of six to eight hours. An alternative route, the Tribhuvan Highway is only 133 kms but requires equal travel time.
However, once the new highway is built, Hetauda to Kathmandu drive will be only an hour long.