Improvement works on MHLR entry section

By RAP 3 on January 17, 2019

District:

A 4km stretch of road was opened some years ago by the district authorities from Gagmadhi to the planned road bridge site on the Mugu Karnali river.  The road is part of the larger Nagma-Gamgadhi-Nakchyalang highway, which provides access to Rowa and from which the MHLR branches off at the Muku Karnali river crossing.  The road is currently passable only by tractors, who travel the road frequently carrying construction materials from the river up to Gamagdhi.

The MHLR project includes improvement works to widen the hairpin bends and adjust the alignment to reduce the gradients in some sections.  These works will not be sufficient to fully meet the national rural road standards, but will make it passable to jeeps, small buses and trucks so they can access the MHLR without difficulty.

In December, the MHLR team had met with local stakeholders, including Chhayanath Rara Municipality and landowners, to agree the widening and re-alignment works to be implemented, ensuring all landowners agreed to these plans in advance of works starting. 

The MHLR team started work on the improvement section this week, using one of the EBRW Pilot excavators to start on the curve widening and realignment works.  RBGs will construct the necessary drainage and retaining structures after the excavator has completed its work.

Construction Progress of Field Office at Bama, Mugu

By RAP 3 on January 17, 2019

District:

The construction of Mugu-Humla Link Road’s (MHLR) main field office was started in September 2018 at Bama and due for completion in February 2019. This office was to be built at Bama so that we can operate major day to day field works from here and cover Mugu Karnali to Chankheli pass and to store large quantities of fuel, construction tools/materials, safety equipment required for Humla ooprtations. The building is designed following earthquake resilience as per the Drawing of Stone Masonary Buildings as per NBC 202, 203. Key features of the building and its design are based on recommendations by Dr Hari Darsan Shrestha, Director of the Centre for Resilient Development (CORD). The building is nearing its lintel level despite works being effected by snow fall as shown in the photo.

Newly formed RBGs in Bama and Darke

By RAP 3 on January 17, 2019

District:

On MHLR, we open the road track using excavators and, as they reach new villages or settlements, we form new RBGs to start work on the structures.  The excavators have now progressed beyond Bama and so we recently formed 26 new RBGs with members from all settlements between Falata and Chankheli pass, including Falata, Bama, Nafa, Darkelbada, Khotka and Darkekhola.   On MHLR we allow anyone from the roadside communities to join a Road Building Group (RBG) as long as they are physically able and between the ages of 18 and 65. 

The 26 new RBGs are managed under two Local Road User Committees (LRUCs).  The new RBG members total 511, of which 263 or 51.5% are women – the first time we have engaged more female than male workers at LRUC level.  This brings the total labour force currently engaged on MHLR to 53 groups totaling 1051 local workers of which 484 or 46% are women. 

Before starting work, all RBGs are given orientation in the RAP3 approach and standards including works quality and worker safety, including correct use of the safety gear and first aid kits they have been issued.  The first task for the new RBGs is to build temporary toilet facilities near their work sites, then it’s time to start work building structures at hairpin bends, unstable slopes, streams and other features requiring protection.

Road Safety Training in Schools along MHLR

By RAP 3 on January 10, 2019

District:

Following concerns expressed by the MHLR Tractor Driver and Excavator Operators about the difficulty of keeping children away from moving machines, MHLR’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) Manager, Mr Tika Ram Sharma, conducted a road safety education programme.  The programme covered basic traffic and pedestrian safety measures to minimise the risk of traffic accidents – this included specific reference to our construction traffic and for general vehicle traffic in the future.  It was conducted in late December in three schools in Rugha, Luma and Bama, where MHLR works are ongoing, reaching 210 students and their teachers.  The programme will be repeated in schools further along the alignment as the works progress to those locations, and refresher training given nearer the time of road opening.

MHLR Project Guest House now operational

By RAP 3 on January 10, 2019

District:

The main project office for MHLR is located in Gamgadhi, the headquarters of Chhayanath Rara Municipality (and previously Mugu District HQ).  Since the highway reached the town, it has been growing rapidly, but there are few hotels and those with quite basic facilities.  The hotels in town often suffer from water shortages, dusty and dirty streets, and difficulty in retaining trained and experienced cooking and cleaning staff.

For this reason, MHLR has rented a building to provide its own guest house (similar to that in Nepalgunj) and project office.  This is located a short distance above Gamgadhi town in a newly constructed building, where the water supply is more reliable and away from the hustle and bustle of the main town.  The project office has been open for a few months, but the facilities and fittings for the guest house have just been completed.  The guesthouse boasts two ensuite guest bedrooms (with toilet and hot shower) available for use by visiting MHLR staff and others associated with the project. 

The long term MHLR team based in Gamagdhi will also reside in the guesthouse, and a trained and experienced cook / cleaner is being recruited.

MHLR Winter Preparedness

By RAP 3 on January 10, 2019

District:

In anticipation of the winter snows that recently arrived, the MHLR team had taken a number of steps to minimise the potential disruption to works progress especially if the snow blocks the road and our supply route.  These measures include maintaining stocks of construction materials and tools for all works planned during the winter months; 25,000 litres of fuel for the excavators which should keep them running for 6-7 weeks and emergency winter stores of food and medical supplies in Gamgadhi.

Our site teams also have to spend a lot of their time working in the cold and snow, including walking between the different active work sites and field offices, including walking over the Chankheli Pass at 3570m where it will now be months before the snow melts.  To provide some protection to our team walking through the snow, we have purchased good quality thick down jackets and waterproof walking boots.  The boots have already been issued to the site staff, and the jackets just arrived in Kathmandu, to be sent to the field team in the coming days.

Snowfall affects MHLR

By RAP 3 on January 10, 2019

District:

Winter snows have fallen a few times already this year in Mugu and Humla districts.  RBGs on MHLR have had to stop work for a few days due to the snow and extreme cold.  Currently RBGs are working only on the southern facing slopes and lower altitude sections where the snow melts reasonably quickly, usually disappearing within 2-3 days of falling.  The early snow is good for local farmers though as it adds moisture to the soil for the next crop, and it provides playtime fun for the local children (and MHLR staff).

Mini Truck pliable on GDDDR, Mugu

By RAP 3 on January 2, 2019

District:

RAP3 Mugu has been constructing the Gamgadhi-Dhaina-Dhulachaur District Road since March 2014. Construction of length 22.75 km (3.1 Km improvement and 19.65 Km new construction) has almost been completed and the entire road length are now vehicle passible. GDDR has been open to 4WD vehicle traffic  since 27th September 2018. As per NRRS, vehicle load capacity of DRCNs roads are 6MT like Mini Truck Swaraj. Mini Trucks Swaraj are regularly using GDDDR and carrying goods from Gamgadhi to end point Gilaha which makes transportation easy and cheap.

Road Safety and Climate Resilient Audit

By RAP 3 on December 28, 2018

District:

RAP3 Mugu has been constructing of Gamgadhi-Dhaina-Dhulachaur district road of length (22.75 km; 3.1 Km Improvement and 19.65 Km new construction) since Mar 2014. Construction has been almost completed now. The entire road lengths have vehicle passable and vehicles are pliable regularly since mid of September 2018. RAP conducts a road safety and climate resilient audit to examine various safety aspects of the road before it is opened to traffic. The purpose of the audit is to detect potential road safety hazards to all road users (including pedestrians, passengers and drivers), resulting from the defects in road environment such as poor geometric features, absence of and/or inadequate signage, dangerous obstacles. A team consisting of Mitra Shrestha (LRN maintenance coordinator), Mohan Ruwali (DTL), and concerns IoWs/STSs performed safety and climate resilient audits from 25 to 26 Dec 2018 by driving a Jeep throughout the entire alignment.  Various safety related aspects of the roads were observed and possible areas of safety hazards were identified, primarily based on the safety checklists developed by DoR. The team shall produce a report with recommendations for remedying the defects identified during the audit.

TMO visit to MHLR corridor

By RAP 3 on December 26, 2018

District:

After officially start-up of Mugu Humla Link Road, TMO team lead by Team leader Kirsteen Merrilees, Field Project Manager Bishnu Ram Bista, Finance and Administrative Manager Suman Khatri, Supply Chain Manager Chen Pathmanathan and Graduate Engineer Balkrishna Dahal visited MHLR corridor. This visit was aimed for backstopping and progress monitoring of MHLR different activities, office setup at Mugu (Gumgadhi) as well as to inspect the site office at Bama. The team visited and monitored all the activities along the corridor minutely and issued lots of necessary instructions to the field team on the spot by TL herself. During this visit, staff meeting was also conducted at site for sharing the progress of project as well as field issue raised by the team and RBGs Sahajkartas. Based on it TL  has given some instructions, suggestions and comments to the team that could be minimized or managed in coming days. Team also conducted meeting with the owners or representatives of excavator suppliers at Gumgadhi office for mutual sharing of experiences that both RAP as well as suppliers for this EBRW pilot phase which might work as milestone feedback for future implementation of the project using equipment.

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