The reconstruction of the much awaited and needed Passang Zam in Pelrithang, Gelephu has begun yesterday with the salang tendrel ceremony.

The Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) is reconstructing the 41.5meter bridge.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, the deputy representative of JICA, Kota

Wakabayashi, said that the existing bridge has been used for almost four-decade and the condition has deteriorated.

He also said that the width and loading capacity of the bridge does not comply with the current design standard in Bhutan.

The deputy representative said that the replacement of the existing bridge will not only benefit the hydropower projects but also the entire central dzongkhags of Bhutan as the Trongsa – Gelephu Primary National Highway is one of the most important north-south links for the dzongkhags in central Bhutan.

Preparatory works for the reconstruction project has been undertaken by the Department of Roads (DoR), the Consortium of Oriental Consultants Global Co. Ltd. and Angerosec Corporation, and Dai-Nippon Construction.

While the existing bridge has already been dismantled, a bypass route has been opened.

DoR’s chief executive engineer, CB Mongar, said that a temporary bridge would be constructed soon until the new bridge is complete so that traffic flow is not disturbed during the monsoon when the river swells.

A press release from JICA stated that during the construction of the bridge, JICA will providing an opportunity for all construction companies to learn and enhance knowledge on the technicalities of constructing a quality bridge.

It also stated that JICA welcomes any stakeholders from the construction industry to be beneficiary of the learning process from this reconstruction projects to facilitate the technical transfer.

The Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) has implemented 22 bridges including three bridges, which are under construction in the primary National Highway-1 with Japanese grant aid projects.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang