Staff reporter

The Gyalpoizhing-Nganglam highway is expected to be closed to traffic for at least three weeks after the 180ft Bailey bridge over Drangmechu at the Kuri-Gongri confluence in Mongar collapsed yesterday.

The bridge that connects Gyalpoizhing in Mongar and Nganglam in Pemagatshel collapsed at around 2.14pm when a 10-wheeler truck was plying over it. The truck driver escaped unhurt.

The bridge’s capacity was 24 metric tonnes(MT) but the truck was allegedly carrying more according to a source.  

The bridge was constructed in 2018.

Chief Engineer of the Department of Surface Transport in Lingmethang, Kinzang Dorji, said they suspect the truck was overloaded. “There is a signboard with all the necessary information,” he said. “We check from time to time whether the bridge has defects and report to headquarters.”

He said that they will collect all emergency bridge parts from nine regional offices today. “We will work hard to open the road to traffic within three weeks.”

Sources said that heavy vehicles could still ply either through Kengkhar gewog or Lingmethang-Weringla drungkhag.

The police have yet to establish the cause of the collapse.

“We will deal seriously as per the outcome of the police report,” said the chief engineer.