Yangyel Lhaden  

About 16 engineers from the Department of Road’s (DoR) west regional office in Thimphu, Paro, and Haa launched an I-section footbridge in Begana, connecting the area with Pangrizampa-Kabesa road on June 27.

The footbridge was launched after the bailey bridge with a carrying capacity of 20 metric tonnes (MT), constructed in 1985, was removed to be replaced with a steel composite bridge with 70MT carrying capacity.

The steel footbridge, constructed as a temporary measure, was supposed to be constructed by May.

DoR’s chief engineer, Chador Gyeltshen, said the temporary bridge construction was delayed because of lockdown in India and Phuntsholing. “I-section beam was stuck in Jaigoan for more than three weeks.”

He said that after completing formalities, I-section beam reached Thimphu on June 25 and works to assemble the bridge was done during the weekend.

Chador Gyeltshen said lack of skilled labourers was another problem and if the work was awarded to a contractor, it would have taken another week to assemble. “Engineers were deployed for skilled work to assemble the bridge.”

He said residents of Begana chiwog provided timber and about 20 residents  from the chiwog helped in assembling the bridge.

According to the chief engineer, the I-section beam could be delaunched when a motorable bridge construction completes in Begana. “It can be taken to other needy places.”

The launching of the footbridge meant residents of Begana, especially school children, will not have to walk for two hours to reach Kabesa where the school, gewog offices, and the primary health centre are located.

Without the bridge, residents of Begana had to use the Changtagang suspension bridge.

According to the tshogpa of Begana, Wangdi, DoR officials and chiwog residents worked till 11pm on June 26 and completed the bridge by 5pm on June 27.

He said two families, who rented a place in Kabesa, were planning to come back to Begana, as they could now reach Kabesa from Begana in less than an hour walk.

Meanwhile, construction of the Begana’s steel composite bridge is underway.

Chador Gyeltshen said since the construction of two bridges in Begana and Khasadrapchu was awarded to one contractor, the bridge reinforcement of Begana was being made in Khasadrapchu.

The construction of two composite steel bridge in Begana and Khasadrapchu is expected to complete by June next year.

Edited by Tashi Dema