Connectivity: The Reotala bridge that connects the Nabji-Korphu farm road remains damaged causing transportation problems for communities that use the road.

The bridge was damaged last summer after boulders that fell from a cliff above the bridge snapped five cables holding the bridge. There are 24 cables in total. The bridge has been closed to traffic ever since.

People coming from either side of the bridge have to park their cars and walk across the bridge. Some arrange for vehicles to pick them up from the other side while others continue walking on to their destinations.

Phuntsho, 48, from Nimshong village said the bridge had made life easier for villagers. The bridge enabled them to easily reach markets to shop or sell their cash crops like oranges and cardamom grown in Korphu gewog. “We’ve to once more carry loads on our backs today since the bridge is still damaged,” he said.

Phuntsho said villagers in the gewog still take their vegetables and other fruits to sell in Zhemgang and Trongsa. They carry their goods on their backs till Reotala and wait for vehicles. “We carry the vegetables and fruits on our backs till Zhemgang if we do not get a vehicle,” he said. Zhemgang is 21km from Reotala.

The villagers were also able to take their cash crops in large quantities by hiring a vehicle when the bridge was not damaged. However, today they have to tranship the goods and pay higher rates as they have to call the vehicles all the way from Zhemgang.

Another villager, Nado, 61, said it is hoped that the bridge is repaired soon.

Some of the civil servants working in the gewog are also facing problems. “We drive from our homes till the bridge and from there we walk till the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway,” said a civil servant.

Department of Roads officials said they are expecting an expert team from India in the first week of November to examine the bridge.

It is yet to be decided if the bridge can be repaired without having to de-launch it.

The 320-foot bailey suspension bridge over the Mangdechhu was constructed at the cost of more than Nu 20 million and was inaugurated last year.

Nima Wangdi | Reotala