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Two bridges along the Wangdue -Trongsa highway – the Nikachu bridge in Sephu, Wangdue and Zalamchu bridge in Tangsibji, Trongsa, opened to traffic on January 31.

Works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden and chief representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Bhutan Office, Koji Yamada, inaugurated the two bridges.

Nikachu bridge is 45 metres long and Zalamchu bridge is 46.50 metres long. Both bridges are pre-stressed concrete box-girder bridges.

The two bridges would cater to the increasing traffic and transportation of heavy electro-mechanical equipment such as transformers for the hydropower projects, according to the ministry. “These bridges were planned to be upgraded with double lane width and higher load carrying capacity (70 MT),” a press release from the ministry states.

The ministry also stated that the previous bridges had limited load carrying capacity, was narrow and constructed on sharp bends limiting turning and causing inconveniences especially to heavy vehicles. “The replacement of these highway bridges is timely with the up-gradation of the Northern East-West Highway. The earlier old concrete deck girder bridges were about 40-years-old.”

The two bridges are part of the  “Re-construction of bridges on Primary National highway No. 1” project.

The project aims to replace three existing bridges on Wangdue – Trongsa highway with permanent bridges of higher load carrying capacity. JICA has provided a grant aid of Japanese Yen 1,956 million for the project.

The contract duration for the three bridges is 26 months from May 2016 until June this year.

The other bridge at Chuzomsa is scheduled to complete by June this year.

Information available from the ministry also states that on an average, the overall traffic on the primary national highway number one is 425 vehicles (with 315 light vehicles and 110 heavy vehicles) a day.

Karma Cheki

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