A required inspection, yet to be carried out, has been delaying progress for the past two years

DANTAK: Nine years after its construction started, the bridge over the river Singye is still not complete.

Started in 2007, construction of the bridge in Pasakha, Sampheling gewog, has halted for almost two years now.

The bridge is 80 percent completed. Piles of sand, gravel, and iron rods still litter the construction site.

The bridge after construction will benefit more than 300 households in three villages, Rangaytung, Dhungana, and Pakchina in Sampheling.

Although an old bailey bridge, besides the incomplete bridge is still being used, residents say they would need a new and stronger bridge.

But they are losing hope that the bridge will ever be completed.

Budhiman Rai, 60, from Rangaytung village, said he is worried that the old bailey bridge may not be able to withstand a flood.

Dorji, from Pakchina, said he had no idea why construction of the bridge had halted.

Villagers from Sampheling claimed that the construction of the bridge was not done properly.

“We heard there was some problem in quality,” a taxi driver, requesting anonymity, said. “Due to quality issues, we heard, the work was halted by the contract employer.”

Some villagers said that work like welding and painting had occurred early this year but that too had stopped.

The 55-metre bridge connects the bypass road used by vehicles when the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway is closed due to roadblocks.

DANTAK initiated the construction in 2007 and the project is still under the organisation.

DANTAK commander in Phuentsholing, N Balamurugan, said construction had been halted because they were waiting for a “proof check” of certain portions of the bridge.

“This proof check had to be completed because there were unexpected flash floods during the execution of the bridge,” the commander said.

N Balamurugan also said a proof check was a requirement that needed to be carried out by the contractor before proceeding with incomplete work. The contractor, an Indian firm, has sought the assistance of a consultant.

The contractor, commander N Balamurugan added, has been repeatedly requested to submit the proof check.

“When the proof check of final verification is received, the construction of the work remaining will be completed on priority,” he said.

The commander added that the road is open to traffic and that the incompletion of the bridge was not affecting communications.

Sampheling gup Mani Kumar Ghalley said as there is still a bailey bridge, there is no significant problem.

“Our expectation is only for a stronger and bigger bridge,” the gup said.

Singye bridge is an Indian government funded project worth Nu 39.4 million.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing