Connectivity: After the recent Dungsamchhu flash flood in Samdrupjongkhar that washed away the bridge connecting the town and Samdrupjongkhar Middle Secondary School, the thromde has laid a new bridge.

The new bridge comes at the time when 15-day summer vacation ends.

The wooden bridge was constructed from seasoned timber as a substitute after the school first lost its suspension bridge to a flashflood caused by the same river. The flood washed away even the temporary wooden bridge.

Although the steel bridge has benefitted the people, many parents said that they are concerned about the safety of their children. Without the pavement for pedestrians, there is no space for people to walk on the bridge, which is unsafe, especially for the students when vehicles are plying on the bridge.

“They should have come up with the design with a provision for children to walk because everyone knew the wooden bridge wouldn’t last long and  the earlier suspension bridge wasn’t safe, too,” a concerned parents said. “If a vehicle passes by there is not even a space for children to give way and standing on bridge side look very risky.”

Thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyal said that realising the parents’ concern, the office approached for additional budget of Nu 0.8 million and it was approved and endorsed during the special Thromde Tshogde.

Karma Sherab Thobgyal said that with the budget the thromde will construct two pedestrian footpaths.

“Since they have a fixed bailey bridge design without the footpath, they would be constructing footpaths outside the bridge abutments where a provision has been kept,” he said. “But the footpath will be definitely safe.”

The government funded the Nu 18 million bailey bridge and the work on another reinforced cement concrete bridge will began soon.

Contracted to the CDCL, the new bailey bridge is one of the two bridges that will be constructed over the Dungsamchhu to connect the new bypass from the main town until Pinchinna check post, 4km from main town.

The 24 metric tonnes capacity bridge will shorten the distance by about 2km from the present highway towards Dewathang.

This is a part of the 11FYP based on the thromde’s structural plan.

The bypass will pass along the Dungsamchhu and without the bridges the road would not be beneficial.

The bypass will divert the present traffic since the traffic is becoming congested every year, the thrompon said, as it would cut short the distance.

He said the bridges would not only benefit the school, but also connect LAP IV and LAP II (upper town).

This also means that those landowners who own land in the LAP IV area, including Pinchinna, can develop the land and bring in developmental activities and construct buildings.

“Since there is no road at present they are not able to utilise the land. But once when the road is connected and blacktopped, where work has already started, people can start developing their land.”

The bridges and road will be completed within the 11FYP or before June 2018.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar