The Department of Road (DoR) has completed the construction of a multi-cell bridge over Setikharey stream in Gelephu within six months. The bridge opened to traffic last week.

The construction of the 50ms span bridge began this year at a cost of Nu14.5M.

DoR officials said the construction was sped up so that it could enable the regular flow of traffic during monsoon.

Without the bridge, the stream swells during heavy rainfall, stranding vehicles for several hours.

DoR’s chief engineer, CB Monger, said that the department took extra effort to monitor and coordinate with the contractor to speed up the project. “We had directives from the department to not affect traffic flow during monsoon unlike last year and the year before.”

This is the second bridge constructed over Setikharey stream. The first, 88.4ms long bridge is 500ms away. The stream changed its course after the construction of the bridge. It now remains useless.

The Sarpang dzongkhag tshogdu, in its last sitting, decided to allow the Natural Resource Development Corporation Ltd (NRDCL) to avoid seasonal stream water flooding villages in Gelephu.

The NRDCL will, however, have to dredge sand in the streams to lower the streambed and construct walls wherever necessary.

Gelephu gewog gup, Ugyen Wangchuk, said that letting NRDCL dredge and sell sand benefits the residents more.

He said at least three contractors are already carrying out works. “Dredging works is almost complete in Mao river that has been washing away private land.”

He also said that so far at least 48 acres of paddy field adjacent to the Mao river belonging to farmers have been washed away.

Dhoti Khola, near the Gelephu Army camp, will be dredged after Mao river, followed by Dhaula River and then Setikharey.

“This will let water flow in one direction and prevent flooding villages unlike in the past,” the gup said.

Nirmala Pokhrel  | Tsirang