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Second Chinese company starts expansion work in Nepal's longest highway

KATHMANDU, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group Co. Ltd, which bagged two contracts of the expansion work of Nepal's longest East-West Highway, has started work on the project, officials of Nepal's Department of Road said.

China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group was recently awarded a contract of expanding an 87-km long section in eastern Nepal which is part of the 1,028-km long East-West Highway that runs through the southern plain of Nepal.

It is the second Chinese company to bag contracts to expand a part of the country's longest highway.

The road will be expanded to four dedicated lanes along with two service lanes in urban centers from the current two lanes, according to the road department.

"The Chinese company has mobilized the resources in the project site starting from late November," Deepak Shrestha, project director at Project Directorate (Asian Development Bank) under the Department of Road, told Xinhua on Sunday.

This section of road is being expanded with the funding of the Asian Development Bank.

In March last year, another Chinese company, China Construction Seventh Engineering Division, started work on a 113-km long road expansion project in southwestern Nepal, which is also part of the East-West Highway.

"We have so far called tenders only in these two sections ... and the Chinese companies got contracts of both sections," said Shrestha, adding the remaining parts of the highway are still under study for expansion drive.

Almost all major highways in Nepal have only two lanes without dividers and the Nepali government aims to expand all of them into four lanes in the coming years, according to officials.

The East-West Highway, which connects Mechi district in the east and Kanchanpur district in the west, was built in 1961 and works as a vital lifeline to a large part of the population.