Kathmandu, August 22
Traffic congestion along the overcrowded Kalanki area seemed as bad as ever today, less than a week after the country’s maiden underpass was brought into operation, following the decision to temporarily shut it for further construction.
Though opening of the Kalanki Underpass had eased vehicular movement for a few days, the project developer notified about its closure for at least a week early this morning, informed Inspector Bimal Thapa of Metropolitan Traffic Police Office, Kalanki.
“Authorities asked us to halt vehicular movement through Kalanki Underpass citing that some construction works were yet to be completed,” said Thapa, adding that the Kalanki area witnessed heavy traffic congestion since early morning today.
The 800-metre underpass in Kalanki, stretching between Khasi Bazar and Bafal Chowk, was opened for vehicular movement last Thursday amidst much fanfare.
As per Thapa, officials of the Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project (KRRIP) have said that the Kalanki Underpass will be opened within one week after making it completely functional.
As Kalanki is the most traffic-congested area in the Kathmandu Valley, with more than 8,000 vehicles passing through the area every day, Thapa stressed on the need to resume operation of the Kalanki Underpass as soon as possible.
The Kalanki Underpass, being constructed at almost Rs five billion grant from the Chinese government, is a part of the Koteshwor-Balkhupul-Kalanki Ring Road Improvement Project.
Meanwhile, Prakash Bhandari, project manager of KRRIP, said that the Kalanki Underpass was opened temporarily last week just to check the movement of vehicles along the underpass. “On the day the underpass was opened, we had informed traffic police that it (the underpass) will be shut within few a days to complete the remaining construction works,” informed Bhandari. “But rest assured that the Kalanki Underpass will be fully operational within a few days.”
Construction of this four-lane underpass in Kalanki began in 2013. Though the project was expected to be completed within 2016, its progress was hampered due to the earthquakes in 2015 and subsequent supply obstructions on the southern border.