The Construction Development Corporation Limited (CDCL) has taken over the construction of Bhalujhora Bridge in Pasakha.

The construction of the 122-metre pre-stressed concrete girder was stalled for a year. The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) is funding the construction.

The bridge construction started in September 2015 and was scheduled to complete in August 2017.

A private construction company in a joint venture deal with an international company was awarded all the SASEC components at Nu 294.14 million (M). However, the joint venture was terminated when it did not meet the deadline and failed to comply.

The bridge component at Bhalujhora has been awarded to CDCL at Nu 77.2M.

Project manager at the site, Gem Tshering said CDCL has taken over from where the construction was left. Camp set up and other mobilisation works have also been completed.

“The previous contractor had completed two abutment works partially,” he said. “Today, we are engaged in excavation and other works related to river reinforcement.”

The girder bridge is expected to complete by March-end next year.

The bridge over Bhalujhora is a crucial infrastructure that links the Pasakha industrial estate to Phuentsholing. Industries have faced difficulties when the bridge was partially damaged by a swollen Bhalujhora in July 2016.

Heavy vehicles and industrial trucks were diverted from the river after the bridge was damaged. Trucks carrying industrial materials were halted on both sides affecting transportation and business.

The Association of Bhutanese Industries’ (ABI) programme officer, Pema Namgyel Ghalley, said industries in Pasakha are happy that the bridge construction has resumed.

“SASEC officials have also assured us that the works would be completed on time,” he said.

However, the bridge construction will not be completed by this monsoon. Pema Namgyel Ghalley said that ABI had a stakeholders’ meeting on March 6 and discussed the issue.

“A committee will be formed that will include all stakeholders,” he said, explaining stakeholders would assist each other and share resources to solve the monsoon problem this year.

Another SASEC component, the construction of gabion structures at Bawanijhora, has been awarded to Druk Chapchab Construction private limited for Nu 132.1M. It is expected to complete in 15 months.

Construction of multi-cellular culvert box and a land customs station, another package of SASEC at Bawanijhora has also been awarded recently.

A bypass road from Bibarey near Manglabarey in Jaigaon will be connected to this road and trucks headed to the Pasakha industrial estate would not enter the towns of Jaigaon and Phuentsholing, easing traffic congestion.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing