Connectivity: Following the recent flood in Samdrupjongkhar that washed away the suspension bridge and a truck, residents expressed concern over the Dungsamchu bridge, which has not only become congested but very old.

Although no damage was done to the bridge during the recent flood but many fear the bridge could one day collapse unless a new bridge comes up.

When heavy vehicles pass through the bridge, it actually shakes.

“We don’t know if thromde is concerned about the bridge, but it needs urgent attention,” Tshering, a resident said. “Every year we hear that thromde and DANTAK are in dialogue but we’ve never seen any changes on the bridge.”

Built in 1969 with the carrying capacity of 70 tonnes, the bridge is located about 600 metres from the border town of Assam and connects Samdrupjongkhar with the rest of the eastern dzongkhags.

Over the years, town population has increased, including the traffic flow.

The vehicles on the bridge have to stop way to make way for those coming from the other side. And if the vehicles are carrying high-heightened load, they have to stop to unload it before crossing the bridge and reload on the other side of the bridge.

Samdrupjongkhar Thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyal said that with the concerns raised by many, the thromde office is discussing with DANTAK to construct another bridge.

DANTAK’s engineer Chandan Masdud said that the bridge is old but not weak.

“The bridge has neither scouring nor structural issues despite the continuous floods,” he said. “It still stands strong and would not collapse as it looks like.”

He said the government of India has already sanctioned budget of about INR 70 million to construct new double-lane pre-stressed concrete box girder bridge without the ceiling.

“The tender has already been floated and the work will be contract out soon,” Chandan Masdud said. “The sole reason for having new bridge is because of space that creates traffic congestion.”

Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupjongkhar