The bridge’s construction is in its eighth year

The 175ms long Amochhu Bridge that will connect Phuentsholing and Samtse is likely to miss another deadline.

This is because the Department of Roads (DoR), while concreting the deck, found a problem with the k-beam of the bridge.

Officials initially announced that the bridge would be completed by this month. The bridge construction began in April 2009.

DoR’s chief engineer in Phuentsholing, Dorji Wangdi, said that the beam had slightly sagged. “Concreting works were the last part of the bridge construction.”

DoR has already tendered the revamp works to BB Engineering of Siliguri, India. DoR’s chief engineer for bridges, Karma Wangdi, said that the rectification work would complete in the next three to four months. “The k-beam is not a major problem. Such issues arise in big constructions like Amochhu.”

He claimed that the rectification works have already started.

However, residents are unhappy with the delay in bridge completion.

A Tading resident in Samtse said that eight years have already gone since the bridge construction began.

He said that besides connecting Phuentsholing and Samtse, the bridge is also expected to boost business opportunities for the local residents. “People of four gewogs of Samtse – Tading, Dorokha, Denchukha, and Dumtey are waiting for the bridge to complete.”

For the people in Dorokha, Denchukhu and Dumtey, driving distance and time will reduce by almost half.

A Bolero pickup driver, Sher Bahadur Bhujel, from Panbari in Tading said it takes more than three hours drive to reach Phuentsholing today. “If the bridge completes, it would take us just 30 to 40 minutes.”

Tading gup Jagath Bahadur Ghalley said that people in his gewog are waiting for the bridge to complete. “But there is no progress. No one is taking it seriously.”

Meanwhile, the bridge was initially scheduled to complete by September 2011. Its initial budget of Nu 175 million (M) later increased to Nu 255M.

Chief engineer, Karma Wangdi, said that the project cost today had escalated.

Since the construction started, DoR office in Phuentsholing terminated two Joint Venture (JV) contractors, Bhutan Builders and its India based JV partner DK Engineering & Construction private limited as well as Gaseb Construction and a Nepal based joint venture (JV) partner Kalika Construction for failing to complete the work on time.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing