The 50 metres multicellular culvert box bridge over Baunijhora stream and the gabion wall constructed upstream in Pasakha could not withstand the flashflood caused by heavy rain on June 24-25.

The flashfloods washed sediments downstream and blocked the 1. 3km road to Pasakha for two days. It took seven excavators yesterday to clear the sediments.

Police officials and volunteers from industries worked throughout the day and opened the traffic at 5:30pm yesterday.

Pasakha residents said that the mega South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) infrastructure completed recently to protect the prone Baunijhora failed its “first monsoon test.”

A taxi driver, Wangchuk, whose taxi was stuck in Pasakha for three days, said he expected this monsoon to be better with the bridge and gabion wall construction completed.

“But it did not help,” he said.

Having stayed for 13 years in Pasakha, Wangchuk said monsoon brought havoc every year, especially, by Baunijhora stream. Even if the road is cleared today, he said, the condition would be the same next day, if it rained.

“The bridge should have been built higher.”

An employee at one of the industries in Pasakha, Thinley Wangdi said the bridge was beautifully built and the blacktopped road had beautified the place.

“Every one was happy here,” he said. “I also thought it would help this monsoon.”

However, Thinley Wangdi said the bridge and the wall could not even stand three days of rain.

Police officials, desuups, and other volunteers helped hundreds of people cross the stream yesterday.

The 50-metre bridge was completed in last month and has not been officially opened. With another bridge over Bhalujhora river, there are three SASEC projects in Pasakha constructed to improve the Pasakha bypass road and link the industrial estate.

Asian Development Bank funded over Nu 324 million (M) for the three SASEC projects as a grant. The gabion was appropriated the highest fund with Nu 132 million (M), while the multicellular bridge and 1.3km road was given Nu 115M, and Nu 77M for the 123-metre pre-stressed concrete girder bridge over Bhalujhora.

Bhalujhora bridge, which is expected to open by the end of this month was also used yesterday evening. Vehicles were allowed to ply, as it was not possible to let vehicles pass from the river upstream.

Meanwhile, Barsa chhu in Pasakha had also swollen and washed away a road stretch that internally connected BCCL and BSMPL. Industries have deployed excavators to divert the river from causing further damage.

Since hundreds of industries’ bound trucks were stranded for four days, Association of Bhutanese Industries is also closely monitoring the situation. The association also coordinated and mobilised excavators.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing