Almost nine years after the construction started, the 175-metre Amochhu bridge is expected to complete by the end of next month, according to officials from the Department of Roads (DoR) in Phuentsholing.

The bridge’s construction began in April 2009.

DoR’s chief engineer in Phuentsholing, Dorji Wangdi, said the department is currently carrying out the decking works.

He said that after the decking works are completed, there would be minor works such as painting, footpath construction, and electrification works. “Bhutan Power Corporation would conduct the electrification works.”

He also said that Bhutanese painters would not be able to carry the painting works considering the complex structure of the bridge. “It would have to be tendered out and the regional office has already intimated the ministry.”

The semi-through type steel arch Amochu bridge was first scheduled to complete in September 2011. However, it missed about five deadlines, the last being August 2017.

Two joint venture contractors were also terminated between 2009 and 2016, as they could not complete the targeted works on time.

Once complete, the bridge would be the longest permanent (concrete) bridge in the country and will link the 58km Phuentsholing-Samtse highway. The bridge connects Purbey in Phuentsholing side and Tading gewog in Samtse.

Tading gup Jagat Bahadur Ghalley said easy access to transportation has been lost due to the delay of the bridge construction.

“Our villagers lose the market,” the gup said, adding that vegetables grown in villages had to be transported to Thimphu via Samtse.

The gup said farmers were interested to grow agriculture products in Tading but the Samtse route was expensive and time-consuming.

The Amochhu bridge would also connect Dorokha, Dumtey, Denchukha, Dumtey, and Haa to Phuentsholing.

Rajesh Rai | Thimphu