Swiss contribution to construct bridges to improve the all-weather accessibility in Nepal

Local news, 26.01.2017

The Government of Switzerland has agreed to contribute a total of CHF 9.9 million (equivalent approximately NPR. 1 billion) to Government of Nepal (GoN) to accelerate the construction of bridges and facilitate improved access through Motorable Local Road Bridge Programme (MLRBP), Phase III. The proposed phase will further build on the confidence of the GoN on the Swiss technical support and strictly follow the national labour standards during the construction works. The proposed phase is considered to be an expansion phase of 3.5 years from March 2017 to July 2020.

Over the last 6 years of the project phases, MLRBP has supported the construction of 390 bridges (GoN financed and 25 SDC-financed) in 75 districts, of which 137 bridges have been completed and vehicles are operating on the roads connected through these bridges. With the construction of these bridges, an additional 2,000 kms of local roads have now become all-weather roads, benefitting a total of over 1.2 million people around the zone of influence of these bridges within a reach of 2-4 hours of walk from their residences. Similarly, traffic and freight volumes on the completed bridges have increased by 37 % and 42 %, respectively. The freight costs have decreased by 38 %.

The third phase is expected to benefit a total of 4 million people across the country through their improved access to services, markets and employment. The disadvantaged groups will benefit especially through their involvement in labour contribution (unskilled, semi-skilled skilled after training) for bridge construction and maintenance works. In addition, Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads, the programme districts including the District Development Offices and District Technical Offices, engineering students and the private sector will benefit from increased capacities, knowledge, improved systems and procedures. 

The Agreement to this effect were signed and exchanged between H.E. Dr. Jörg Giovanni Frieden, Ambassador, the Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal and Mr. Baikuntha Aryal, Joint Secretary, International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division, Ministry of Finance on behalf of their respective governments on 26th January 2017.

The Government of Nepal has expressed its sincere appreciation to the Government of Switzerland for this grant assistance and for continued support to the socio-economic development of Nepal.

The Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal

26 January 2017