Process to appoint contractor for Nagdhunga tunnel starts

Aug 15, 2018-The Department of Roads (DoR) has initiated the public procurement process to appoint a contractor to execute the Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project. The  planned 2.45-km Nagdhunga tunnel way will pass under the western rim of the Kathmandu Valley and link up with the national highway network.

Last week, the DoR issued a procurement notice inviting bidders to submit their technical and financial proposals along with a $2 million bid security by October 10. As the department is executing the Rs20.2-billion project with a loan from the Japanese government, the contractor has to be selected as per the guidelines for procurement under Japanese official development assistance.

The guidelines require the bidder to submit two proposals—one describing the technical capacity to undertake a particular contract and another stating the cost—in two separate sealed envelopes.

Initially, the DoR will evaluate the technical proposals and prepare a list of the bidders meeting the technical criteria. It will then open the second envelope of the bidders making it to the first list and select one quoting the lowest price.

The department will then forward the proposal to the Japan International Cooperation Agency for approval before signing an agreement with the contractor. According to Sanjay Kumar Shrestha, chief of the DoR’s Foreign Cooperation Branch, the entire procurement process will be completed within four to five months. “Our plan is to mobilize the contractor to the project site by January 2019,” said Shrestha.

Currently, the department is engaged in acquiring private lands lying on the planned alignment of the approach way and tunnel. The tunnel way project has two components: Construction of a 2.45-km tunnel from Basnetchhap to Sisne Khola, and a 2.6-km approach road from Basnetchhap to Thankot. The proposed tunnel will have two 3.5-metre lanes and a 2.5-metre shoulder. It will also have LED lighting, mechanical ventilation, evacuation tunnel door and emergency telephone service.

Likewise, the approach road will have two bridges, toll booths and a roadside rest area for travellers. The rest area, spread over 4,650 square metres, will have parking space for nine heavy vehicles and 23 light vehicles, fast food restaurants, shops and toilets. The cost of the project is expected to be around Rs20.2 billion.

The tunnel and approach road are expected to cut travel time over the mountainous route from Nagdhunga to Naubise, the main gateway to Kathmandu.

It will eliminate the circuitous route over the Valley’s rim and cut travel time. Also, traffic flow is expected to become smoother on the stretch after the tunnel is built.

Nepal and Japan signed an official development assistance loan agreement worth Rs15.2 billion for the construction of the tunnel in December 2016.

The loan repayment period has been fixed at 40 years and the grace period at 10 years. The loan carries an interest rate of 0.01 percent per annum.

Source: The Kathmandu Post