By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Sept. 17: Work on tunnel construction of the Terai/Madhesh Fast Track (Expressway) Project is set to begin from November, 2020 despite some problems in mobilising team members representing the international consultant owing to COVID-19 pandemic, said the Project Office on Wednesday. The NA has decided to give continuity to some of the halted works of the project so as to complete it in time after some team members of the Korean consultant, Yooshin Engineering Corporation (Korea) JV, arrived in Nepal in August. According to Brigadier General and spokesperson of Nepali Army Headquarters Shantosh Ballave Poudyal, the chief coordinator and chief surveyor of Yooshin Engineering Company had arrived in Nepal and they recently held consultations with local associates in the presence of concerned subject experts. At present, the members of the team leaders have been engaged in borehole drilling task under geotechnical investigation part to conduct further tests of the situation of the rocks in the tunnel route, according to a press statement issued by the Directorate of Public Relations and Information at the Army Headquarters. Borehole drilling task began after the International Consultant completed its works of conducting geophysical survey, Brigadier General Poudyal said. He said the borehole drilling tasks had begun in Mahadevtar, Lanedanda and Dhedre of Makwanpur district. Samples of the collected rocks and soil taken out from the boreholes will be tested later. Similarly, construction work of access road and abutment has also begun simultaneously along the project site, he said. Under the set specifications of the International Company, the Expressway Project Office has already called a prequalification (PQ) bid for taking the tunnel construction works ahead and the last date for bid submission is set till September 30, said Poudyal. The Fast Track or Expressway Project is one of the national pride projects of the country, which the NA has been engaged with dedication for completing it by 2080/81 B.S. Brigadier General Poudyal said the Project Office, which lies inside the Army Headquarters, has been unable to deploy all the technical and team members of the international consultant and contractors in the field due to increasing risk of the coronavirus. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project has already been done and now brief environmental study (BES) or Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) is being done at the tunnel construction locations. There will be two separate tunnels -- one at Mahadevtar and another one in Dhedre and Landedanda of Makwanpur district, which cover a distance of 6.41 kilometers. Also, there will be 87 high-rise bridges in different locations of the project. Spokesperson Poudyal said the two separate tender bids would be called for pushing ahead the tunnel works in two packages. The first package of the tunnel construction work is expected to begin by November, 2020. Cutting and filling works in four kilometres of the road section are yet to be completed, he said. The Army has estimated a cost of Rs. 175 billion (including VAT) to complete the project.