Nepal's first paved road was built with aid from India
early 1950s. It connected Kathmandu with Raxaul on the
border. As of 1997, additional roads were being built,
with the cooperation of India but also the United States,
an East-West Highway through southern portions of the
Other roads, in various stages of planning, construction,
already completed, were built with assistance from Saudi
India, Britain, the Soviet Union, Switzerland, China, the
States, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.
Prior to the First Five-Year Plan, Nepal had
kilometers of roads, including fair weather roads.
were rarely met on time, road construction has increased.
By midJuly 1989, approximately 2,900 kilometers of paved roads,
kilometers of gravel roads, and 2,500 kilometers of
weather) roads were in existence. Most goods and
utilized these roads, and transit no longer was
The main roads consisted of east-west and north-south
The longest highway was the Mahendra Highway, or East-West
Its total proposed length was approximately 1,050
which 850 kilometers were completed as of 1989. The
Arniko Highway, which connected Kathmandu with Kodari on
Chinese border, was constructed with Chinese assistance.
Siddhartha Highway was constructed with India's help and
the Pokhara Valley with Sonauli in India's Uttar Pradesh
Some of the other completed highways (rajmarg)
running eastwest were the Tribhuvan-Rajpath, Prithvi, and Kodari
Among north-south highways, Gorkha-Narayangadh,
Sindhuli-Bargachi, and Dhangadhi-Dadeldhura roads were
completed in the early 1990s. A number of north-south
being constructed to connect with the east-west Mahendra
Because of the terrain, the building and maintenance of
was very expensive. Landslides in hilly areas during
were very common. There were also several rivers and
from north to south whose levels during monsoon season
difficult to predict. All these factors caused periodic
in the movement of trucks and buses. Nevertheless, as a
road expansion, several private firms ran passenger buses
trucks to transport goods. From 1980 to 1990, the number
passenger vehicles increased by more than 100 percent.
1990, new vehicle registrations included 723 buses and
240 trucks, and 1,831 jeeps, cars, and pickup vans.
Data as of September 1991