Message from the RAP3 MHLR Team Leader, Kirsteen Merrilees.
Following the official handover of the first 26km section of road, I would like to express my sincere thanks and congratulations to all those who have worked on or supported in any way the MHLR road construction works. The MHLR has been a particularly challenging project due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the work sites, the difficult terrain and the extreme cold and heavy snows experienced in the winter months. One response to these challenges was to introduce an innovative way of optimising labour and equipment based approaches by piloting a new contracting model and performance standards for using excavators. This brought about a number of new challenges from which we have all learnt valuable lessons for potential future projects. We have also learnt a lot about large scale forest clearance, log management and compensatory tree planting. This was new to most of our team and again we have learned many valuable and practical lessons for the future.
The additional challenges of working safely and protecting everyone during the pandemic has further added to these challenges, but everyone involved has risen to the challenge remarkably; demonstrating a level of determination and resilience without which we would not be here today.
I would like to thank in particular the RAP3 MHLR team for all their hard work and dedication despite the many challenges and difficult working conditions they have experienced; to thank the communities that have worked on the road construction and their compliance with our strict performance and health and safety rules; the excavator owners and operators for following our unique contracting approach and requirements; our project delivery partners PHASE Nepal for providing much needed health and safety support to our workforce and their families; and to the many government officials, community leaders and representatives that have facilitated works progress and helped resolve problems.