A bridge, for instance, could be built in less than 48 hours in times of emergency

Bridge: In the wake of the recent monsoon disaster, the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MOWHS) is building a team of 18 engineers who will be trained to build a bridge between 24 and 48 hours in times of emergency.

The government has approved Nu 100 million, from which components of  bridges measuring 140 ft and 100 ft each would be procured for all the nine regional offices of the Department of Roads. This means that each regional office will have components of a two sets of bridges reserved for the emergency.

The secretary of the ministry, Phuntsho Wangdi, said six manufacturers in India have been consulted. He said a manual prescribing technical details will be drafted and that by December the team will have conducted two practical sessions in Jomotshangkha and Serthi spanning 80ft and 140 ft respectively.

Phuntsho Wangdi said that the cost of construction of these bridges will not go beyond Nu 500,000; it would not cost less than Nu 2 million if contracted out.

Another team comprising of about 15 army personnel will also be trained for the same task.

“It took two day for us to transport the bridge component to Kamji during the recent disaster,” Phuntsho Wangdi said. He added that there were two bridge components available with the department of roads meant for another project. Fortunately one met the requirement at Kamji.

For the sunken road pavements, the ministry has plans to supply materials for five artificial walls, each measuring 10 metres long in all the regional offices. Artificial walls are constructed using gabion mesh and are usually called gabion wall.

“These materials could also be used for regular maintenance. But whenever it is used, replacement stocks will be piled for emergency situation,” Phuntsho Wangdi said.

Around Nu 5 million would be spent in purchasing two sets of launching tools and training the task force.

The separation of Construction Development Corporation Limited (CDCL) from the mechanical division of roads department has also presented some challenges. Officials from the ministry said the ministry earlier could easily identify where the machines are deployed, making it easier to divert it on the affected sites.

Officials said that now it takes at least two days to find required machinery. A bigger problem still is finding a trailer to transport those machines to the disaster sites.

Tshering Dorji