A permanent bridge planned in the urban corridor project in Gelephu 

Younten Tshedup | Gelephu

Nine months after the 10-metre long reinforced concrete cement (RCC) bridge was damaged by the swelling Aipoly stream, the bridge is still not repaired. 

A temporary bypass over the riverbed was opened for traffic following the incident. 

Time is running out. Commuter says that the bypass route would be flooded once the water level rises in summer. “It’s the dust that is an issue currently. Soon vehicles would be stuck here because of the swelling river,” said a taxi driver. 

 The bridge suffered extensive damage during the last monsoon

The bridge suffered extensive damage during the last monsoon

Traffic officials reported that several vehicles have also fallen off the cavity during the night. Despite putting up barricades to alert drivers of the missing bridge, officials said that they drive right through the barriers. 

“There is no proper lighting in the area. Vehicles fail to slow down assuming that it is a continuous road ahead. In the process they fall off into the riverbed,” said traffic personnel.          

“This should have been taken up as a priority activity by the concerned authority,” said a Gelephu resident. “They should have finished repairing the bridge before monsoon. Nothing has been done so far.”

The bridge is under the Gelephu Thromde. 

Thromde officials said a new RCC bridge was in the plan as a part of thromde’s urban corridor project. 

Project engineer, Dorji Khandu, said that the damaged bridge had to be reconstructed from the base, which would have incurred more cost. “It would be a wasteful investment since we already have a new RCC bridge included in the urban corridor project that recently began.”

However, he said that a temporary bridge would be constructed for the traffic during monsoon. “We are looking for temporary bridge materials to be laid as soon as possible. The bridge would only allow light vehicles to ply.”    


Urban Corridor 

Works to construct a 2.5km urban corridor is underway since last month.

Once completed, the urban corridor that stretches from the roundabout near the fuel depot until the domestic airport entrance gate, will replace the existing highway. 

The urban corridor is being built as a part of thromde’s structural plan and would be completed in the 12th Plan. “The existing highway is narrow and there are frequent traffic congestions,” said Dorji Khandu.

He said that with the Jigmeling Industrial Estate coming up, traffic would increase along the highway. Thromde would construct till its boundary near the airport. It would be continued by the dzongkhag after that.  

The 2.5km corridor would allow a four-lane traffic flow that would stretch some 32m wide. Footpaths on either side of the road would be constructed along with other facilities.  

Dorji Khandu said that once completed, the urban corridor, central boulevard and two other primary road networks, which are completed, would form the urban spine roads in Gelephu where all other secondary and tertiary roads would connect. 

Of the 150 million (M) agreed amount, Nu 100M has been approved for the project so far under the Small Development Project.