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  1. november 2021

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Sweco wins large-scale road maintenance project in Nepal

After a two year long tender process, Sweco has been chosen by Millennium Challenge Corporation to carry out a road maintenance project of a key section of the Mahendra Highway that runs from east to west in Nepal. The purpose is to improve traffic safety and reduce driving time considerably.

The vital Mahendra Highway that connects Nepal from east to west is in dire need of improvement. Today it takes approx. 10 hours to drive the 400 km. highway stretch from Katmandu to Lamahi because many sections are in poor condition and the road is too narrow. In a pilot project, Sweco has been chosen to design, supervise the construction and resettlement, asset the environmental and social impact, and defect notification period supervision of a 40 km. long stretch of the highway with a possible 37 km. section to improve at a later stage.

“Following the standards from Nepal’s Department of Roads, the existing 2-lanes road needs to be widened from the existing 6 m up to 14 m in urban areas and 16 m in rural areas including shoulders, drainage and sidewalks. This is one of the biggest challenges, and a social impact and resettlement plan for relocation of existing houses, shops, temples and utilities need to be implemented before the construction starts,” says Antonio Hidalgo Barrantes, Senior Project Manager in Sweco Denmark’s International Department.

“Another important challenge is that the road rehabilitation needs to be executed while the traffic is running which means a detailed traffic management plan will be essential,” he adds.

World class expertise

The objective of the project is to maintain the road quality in Nepal’s Road Network. For the first time in Nepal, the project will make use of pavement recycled with cement stabilization together with new pavement technologies which is something Sweco’s Pavement Consultants are worldwide known for.

“Sweco’s Pavement Consultants are among industry leaders within the sphere of consultancy with special emphases on pavement design, special pavements, material technology, pavement technology and asset management which all are competences that play an important role in the project,” says Thomas Fleurine Sørensen, Director Energy & International in Sweco Denmark.

To carry out the project Sweco uses a three-legged approach including superpave asphalt mix design to resist structural failure, development of environmental and social mitigation following IFC Performance Standards and improvement of traffic safety measures. For the project’s implementation Sweco involves several international specialists both for the design and construction supervision phases with large experience in this kind of projects worldwide. A local sub-consultant in Nepal, DEVTEC will assist both with external specialists and a local support team.

Active in Nepal since 1985

Sweco carried out its first project in Nepal in 1985 and has implemented similar projects in Mongolia and Tanzania for Millennium Challenge Corporation. In the road sector Sweco has been specifically active in Asia and Africa where climate resilient and sustainable technologies and know-how is essential. This is where Danish companies like Sweco have strong capacities to offer.

The road maintenance for both road sections is expected to be completed beginning of 2024.

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