The bridge construction over Dungsamchu in Samdrupjongkhar is expected to complete by March next year after the contractor failed to meet the deadline.

The roller compacted concrete (RCC) bridge was supposed to complete by April this year but it could not meet the deadline.

Officials from the construction company, Mohan Bajaj Construction based in Sikkim, said they are, however, yet to approach project DANTAK for the deadline extension.

The construction of the 50-meter span bridge began from July 2016.

The company’s site manager, Gopal Yadav, said they could not complete the bridge on time because although the contract was signed in February last year, the actual work began only from July, as they had to mobilise the labourers and procure materials.

He said that they spent almost four months in constructing the foundation, which is 13meters deep with six meters height wall above the foundation.

Gopal Yadav said the April 25 flash flood affected the entire foundation after the rainwater filled the foundation area almost 10meters deep and submerged the wall too.

“Otherwise, we had completed almost 50 percent of the foundation work and the work was going smoothly,” he said. “The unpredictable weather and rainfall were also partly to be blamed.”

He said at present the workers are draining out rainwater but the continuous rainfall has been affecting the work. “The swelling of Dungsamchu has stalled the construction work.”

The site manager said that work will resume on Monday if they manage to drain out the water. “We expect to complete the abutment construction by September, super structure by October and the entire bridge by next year.”

Once completed, the 110 metric tonnes capacity bridge will also have two pedestrian footpaths and double lanes.

The government of India funds the Nu 5.97 crore bridge construction.

The construction of the new bridge began after the residents raised concerns about the existing Dungsamchu bridge, since it is narrow for heavy vehicles.

Vehicles carrying high loads have to unload and reload on the other side of the existing bridge since the height of the beams are relatively low.

Yangchen C Rinzin and  Kelzang Wangchuk