Infrastructure: The bazam or cantilever bridge that once connected Dongdidzong with Trashiyangtse town wears a new look today.

Dzongkhag administration renovated the bazam over the Kholungchhu recently.

People would not have been able to go to the dzong if this bridge did not exist. Dongdi dzong once housed the dzongkhag and dungkhag administrations before the new dzong at Rinchengang was built.

The bazam stands next to a motorable bridge that connects a farm road to Gangkhar and other nearby villages with the Trashiyangtse highway. The bridge stands a few metres from a cremation ground towards the old dzong.

Trashiyangtse’s municipal engineer, Jigme Tshewang said Trashiyangtse town is a traditional model town and renovation of the bazam was required as it is part of the town area. “We renovated it at a cost of Nu 0.6 million,” he said.

The bridge, which was on the verge of complete dilapidation, has been saved. They have replaced its decayed deck, roof, railings and longitudinal girders. It has also been repainted.

Jigme Tshewang said they need not change the cantilever and abutments, as they are still strong. The bridge is roofed with both shingles and CGI sheets serving as a second layer. Officials said the shingles were used to maintain the traditional look.

The bazam is currently locked from both sides to prevent cattle from entering and sleeping on the bridge. People have also chipped away pieces of the bridge, as it is believed that a piece of wood from a bridge is required during some rimdros. People often broke the doors on both sides.

Officials said the 53-metre long bazam is also meant for locals to show visiting tourists that it was once an important lifeline for the people in the old days. However, the exact age of the bazam is not known.

Officials said there is another old cantilever bridge over the Dongdechhu, which is almost completely dilapidated. “There was a proposal to restore it in one of the dzongkhag tshogdus in the past but this could not be realised due to budget constraints,” an official said. They are hoping it can still be renovated.

Nima Wangdi | T/Yangtse