Infrastructure: Chumpathang bridge in Ugyentse, Samtse will be opened for traffic by the end of this week.

The launching of the bailey bridge, that connects Ugyentse and Norbugang, was completed on February 11.

The Department of Roads (DoR) engineering team took four days to complete this task. DoR’s executive engineer in Samtse, Sonam N Wangdi said they worked long hours to complete the launching.

“Engineers from the regional DoR’s office in Phuentsholing also came,” the engineer said.

The 120-foot Chum- pathang bailey bridge collapsed in November 2016 due to overloading. A jumbo truck with a load of 36 tonnes had tried to drive over the bridge which had a maximum capacity of only 18 tonnes.

Executive engineer Sonam N Wangdi said that the hardest part of the construction is complete and that only decking remains, which will not take time.

To complete the project within this week, Sonam N Wangdi also said that they will have two groups working on either side.

As the bridge caters to students in summer, it was crucial that the bridge was constructed before the onset of summer. The gup of Ugyentse had also shared his concerns with Kuensel.

Meanwhile, it has been learned that the owner of the truck which caused the bridge to collapse has still not paid DoR. The trucker had approached the Prime Minister for certain payment considerations before agreeing to pay DoR. The case has been forwarded to the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.

DoR had estimated that Nu 1.1 million (M) would be required to re-establish this bridge. As some of the material from the collapsed bridge could still be reused, expenditure was incurred only to replace damaged materials and for the launching procedure.

Meanwhile, the two 80-foot bailey bridges over the Buduney river in Samtse that collapsed due to heavy rain in July 2016 will not be reconstructed.

Executive engineer Sonam N Wangdi said that it is yet to be decided if a box culvert will be constructed.

However, DoR has started dredging works to divert the river to its original course. DoR officials said that the river that washed away the bridges in Buduney was supposed to flow a different course.

When the department had tried to divert the river to its original course, the people opposed the diversion fearing landslides on the original course.

There were three adjoining bridges of the same capacity over the river and two were washed away when the river got swollen last summer.

These bridges connect nine gewogs with the Samtse dzongkhag administration.

Rajesh Rai | Samtse