People travelling between Trongsa and Zhemgang would get to ply through a bridge at Dzongkhalum by the end of this month even though the bad road condition with slides would remain the same.

The Mangdechu Hydro Electric Project (MHPA) started building the bridge last month.

MHPA’s Chief Engineer AK Sthapak said that they have already finished laying all three girders and executing reinforcement works. “We will soon start the concreting works,” he said. The project allocated Nu 20 million for the bridge construction.

The new steel composite bridge will look like the previous one that the falling boulders crushed last year. The bridge over Dzongkhalum stream will be 34.5 meters long.

The bridge would benefit vehicles and people travelling across this place especially in transporting the heavy equipment of MHPA.

On July 14 last year, boulders rolled over and the bridge was crushed into the gorge during the road widening work. The head race tunnel of the project was opened for traffic as an interim measure when landslides blocked the road at this stretch.

Residents said that although narrow, the road stretch at Dzongkhalum was stable in the past. They claim that the contractor to whom MHPA had awarded the road widening work disrupted the stability of the place leaving the area landslide prone.

The Department of Roads and Bhutan Engineering Co. Private Limited filled up the gorge with boulders and debris to raise a structure through which vehicles could ply through after the bridge was broken.

Residents also said that the area’s stability was affected since the previous contractor started cutting the cliff from way up above the road.

The previous bridge was constructed in 2014 after a heavy trailer truck destroyed the old bridge.

Dzongkhalum is 11km from Trongsa towards Zhemgang and the road condition still remains risky.

Nima Wangdi