Misgivings over new Jaldaka Bailey bridge

The authorities concerned, however, aver that such fears are unfounded and misplaced

CDCL: People in Bara are skeptical about a bridge that has been constructed over Jaldaka river that connects Sipsu’s two gewogs Tendu and Bara.

The 160-foot bailey bridge, which was completed in November 2014, Bara villagers claim, is not properly constructed.

One of the tshogpas in Bara, Gopal Rai, said there was something wrong with the bridge’s ‘layout’. “Even a layman is able to make the difference,” the tshogpa said.

The bridge’s base plate hasn’t been placed within the avertment wall.  The base plate is a bailey bridge’s main feature that neutralises the load with bearing system on it.

The base plate, in engineering specifics, has to rest within the right position of avertment wall (concrete), according to engineers.

However, it was found that the base plate has been placed approximately five feet towards the backfilling of the wall and away from the avertment.  Engineers Kuensel consulted said this was “wrong.”

In such cases, engineers said, there could be chances of the backfilling sinking, which would eventually make the bridge weak.

“Its sustainability is questionable,” an engineer said, wishing anonymity.  “If the backfilling is weak, the bridge will tilt.”

Engineers also said that such cases occur if the alignment of the bridge span is not carried out properly.  The fault, they allege, could be with the contractor.

Meanwhile, the ministry of works and human settlement had carried out the design and the drawing aspects of Jaldaka Bailey Bridge.

While construction of the avertment walls on the two sides of the river was carried by the dzongkhag, the Construction Development corporation limited (CDCL) did the “launching part.”

During the launching, the bridge is connected.

The site engineer of the bridge, Tshering Wangchuk, in Samtse, said there was no problem with the bridge.

“We execute the work,” the engineer said, explaining there was no such problem and risk with the bridge. “CDCL would have known it if there were any problems with it at the time of launching.”

Should there be any risk, Tshering Wangchuk also said CDCL would have asked them to formally make an undertaking, which was not done.

Meanwhile, the Bailey bridge was constructed at a cost of Nu 10.03M (million).  About Nu 7M was spent in procuring steel panels and other parts.

Although people of Bara are happy with the coming of the bridge, they are doubtful, if it will last for long. “If there’s an earthquake, it can be risky,” a Bara villager said. “Although we don’t know the engineering, there must be some explanation.”

Another villager said the iron panels had rusted, as it was kept for a long time on the roadside.

CDCL general manager, operations, Parshuram Sharma, meanwhile, said there wouldn’t be any risk in future.

“Although the avertment is slightly tilted, there won’t be a problem,” he said, explaining that the launching was done, keeping in mind all the engineering aspects.

It was also tested, Parshuram Sharma said, adding the bridge has a capacity to carry 24 metric tonnes without any risk at any time.

By Rajesh Rai, Bara

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