The Department of Roads (DoR) will soon have data on all 272 bridges in the country, which would be used for the repair and maintenance of these infrastructures.

According to the bridge division’s executive engineer, Rinchen Khandu, the data will be incorporated in the bridge management system (BMS.) It was learnt that most bridges are temporary bailey bridges and have limited load capacity and carriage width. Some of the concrete bridges are constructed in the 70s and 80s and have outlived their design lives and difficult to cater to heavy load vehicles plying over it.

The executive engineer said DoR officials and 10 Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) experts have created the basic form for the bridge inventory and distributed to the DoRs regional offices.

He said engineers in regional offices have started collecting information for the inventory of bridges. The inventory, which started this month, is expected to complete by June.

The activities, Rinchen Khandu, said are part of the technical cooperation project for capacity development in construction and maintenance of bridges, known as CAMBRIDGE project.

The project, which started from September 2016, is also expected to impart technical skill to bridge engineers on inspection, diagnosis, repair, reinforce, construction and maintenance of bridges.

A joint coordination committee meeting was held earlier this month between DoRs officials, JICA chief representative and JICA experts to discuss the progress of the project.

During the meeting, presentations were made on bridge inventory survey, bridge engineering, bridge maintenance, BMS, quality and safety control of bridge construction.

Rinchen Khandu said the project is expected to share bridge engineering knowledge and skills to all engineers who are involved and thereby improve the quality of bridges constructed throughout the country.

DoR officials said there is a dearth of bridge engineers in the country today and all bridge constructions are monitored from the headquarters.

Officials also said that by the end of the three-year project, a field checklist on quality control and safety control for bridge construction and a national policy on maintenance and management of bridges managed by DoR would be framed.

Meanwhile, an on the job training in steel bridge and PC bridge for quality and safety at the construction site will be held in October 2017.

Tashi Dema