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The presentation tells the story of how 15,000 workers from the poorest families were helped to build 220 km of fair weather road in the foothills of the Himalaya, in areas where the only means of transportation had been porters, mule trains and walking. Using an environment-friendly approach to construction, families were given the opportunity not only to escape from debt slavery, but to subsequently enrich their lives through the advantages that improved transportation brings.
Working in groups of 20 using only hand tools and wheel barrows, tracks in geologically new and forested terrain were set out, opened up and widened to 4.5m over a four year period. Gabion wire boxes were the only structural elements and various bio-engineering techniques were used to stablise slopes. End result was for motorised vehicles from 4WDs up to 6-tonne trucks being able to ply goods, produce and passengers to and from the outside world, along with associated social and economic benefits to the hill population.
R M Weatherell OBE, CEng, MICE, BSc, ACGI
Programme Manager, Nepal Rural Access Programme.
Formerly Principal Director, International Manaagement Consulting Worldwide Ltd