Four bridges along the Gelephu-Trongsa highway will be reconstructed with wider carriageway width and higher load carrying capacity.

The four bridges are Telegangchu bridge, Beteni bridge, Samkhara bridge, and Passang bridge.

The project worth over USD 17 million is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Telegangchu’s site manager, Masaru Hayase, said that the four existing bridge had carrying capacity of about 55 tonnes each. The new bridges, he said, would have carrying capacity of 100 tonnes each. “This means that the bridge would be able to carry two excavators at a time.”

He added that with several hydropower projects coming up, it was risky for vehicles to carry heavy loads on the old bridges. “The bridge might fall. We already see damage and all four bridges have similar issues.”

Today, the project has about 70 employees of which about 30 are Bhutanese.

Reconstruction of Passang bridge began in September last year. Construction of other bridges began about three months ago.

Masaru Hayase said that Dai Nippon Construction would complete the project by mid 2020.

With fund support from JICA, about 22 bridges have been constructed in the country until today. Chuzomsa bridge in Wangdue was the most recent.

Excluding the four bridges under construction today, 22 bridges were built at a cost of over 8 billion Yen.

Bhutan and Japan’s cooperation in the area of bridge construction began in 1997 with the study on the national highway bridge construction.

Bhutan and Japan are also celebrating 30 years of volunteer programme in Bhutan.

Phurpa Lhamo