Contractors need at least six months more to complete the country’s longest permanent bridge

Disaster: The recent Amochhu flood has caused the ongoing Amochhu Bridge construction damage worth more than Nu 10M (million), officials from the department of roads (DoR) confirmed.

The bridge will now need additional time of at least six months for completion, further extending the completion deadline.

Until the area flooded, only decking and protection works were left to complete. On the contractor’s part, about 98 percent of the construction was completed by June end.

Following the flood, the completion rate today has dropped by eight percent, a DoR site engineer Chencho Dorji said.

“The contractors were supposed to complete their share of the job by first week of August this year,” the engineer said, adding that the department’s portion was to complete by October.

Including the department’s portion of the work, it was learnt that about 96 percent of the construction (overall) had completed, until the flood hit the site on July 1.

Officials said the major damage was with the flood washing away the base of the tower that’s constructed on either side of the bridge. With its base loosened, the flood has resulted in dislocating a cross beam and two horizontal beams.

DoR officials said the beams would first have to be completely removed before they are fixed.

The flood also washed away close to 200 cement bags and 38 alpha trusses kept for the construction. Aggregates and sand were also washed away.

DoR officials said remedial measures had been taken. Arrangements to tackle future floods have also been pitched with the main construction works slowly picking pace.

“We had a meeting with the contractors and they will submit us a report of the findings today,” Chencho Dorji said.

Gaseb construction in a joint venture (JV) partnership with Nepal’s Kalika construction is constructing the 175 metres long Amochhu Bridge. Initially Bhutan Builders with a JV partnership with DK engineering carried out the construction of this bridge that started in April 2009.

These contractors couldn’t complete 50 percent of the work in stipulated time and resulted in termination.

The project’s initial budget of Nu 175M has also shot up to Nu 255M today. Further, the government has also approved Nu 20M on the spillover for this financial year.

In September 2014, more than five years since the construction started, the Amochhu Bridge made a breakthrough with its arch erection completed. Officials had then said that construction would be completed by December 2014.

The tentative deadline then shifted to May this year. However, following the floods, the bridge that was supposed to tentatively complete by October this year would remain unachieved.

Meanwhile, the tower on the Samtse side was not affected. It has been dismantled as most of the works are completed. It is a semi-through type steel arch bridge, which on completion will be the longest permanent (cemented) bridge the country will boast of.

Once completed, the Amochhu Bridge will connect Phuentsholing and Samtse through a 58 kilometres highway that would shorten travel time between these two places to an hour and a half approximately from two hours’ drive.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing


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