Three years on, the Bailey bridge over Drangmechu at Shing Phurtomo in Udzorong gewog, Trashigang still remains incomplete.

Save for the foundation works, there has been no progress at the site according to gewog officials. The unavailability of building materials had led to the delay of the bridge, said officials.

Baypam-Gangkhar chiwog tshogpa, Sonam Tenzin, said that during the recent visit of the education minister to the gewog, he said that due to the change in the contractors, the work couldn’t begin. “Lyonpo assured that works would resume soon.”

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk told Kuensel that the bridge would be completed in the next 45 days. “The delay was because there was a material that had to be imported from the United Kingdom and was not available anywhere in the region,” he said. “With the material now here, the bridge will be completed in the next 45 days.”

However, residents are growing impatient, as the delay has caused them severe financial implications. “If it wasn’t for the delay, the distance to Trashigang and Mongar would have been reduced considerably saving us both time and money,” said one of the villagers.

Once completed, the bridge would connect the gewog to the Mongar-Trashigang highway near Sherichu in Mongar.

Today, people from the two villages have to travel more than 70km to reach Trashigang spending not less than Nu 2,500 when they reserve a taxi. It takes about three hours to reach Sherichu from the two villages on foot. From there, people board the local bus to travel to Mongar and Trashigang.

However, Sonam Tenzin said that the footbridge near Sherichu is in perilous condition. “People have to travel through that footbridge at their own risk for it is not safe,” he said.

Constructed some 70 years ago, the footbridge was damaged during the widening works along the Trashigang-Mongar highway. “The issue was raised during the dzongkhag tshogdu and repair works conducted,” said the tshogpa. “However, a windstorm in February last year had overturned the bridge making it more risky.”

The tshogpa said that without the bridge at Shing Phurtomo, people have to travel through the footbridge to ferry their crops and vegetables. “Taking the detour from Kanglung-Trashigang road would be expensive for the farmers.”

It was learnt that a new road connecting Baypam and Gangkhar villages to the bridge at Shing Phurtomo was one of the pledges lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk made to the people of Udzorong.

The new road connection is expected to be around 15km.

Younten Tshedup | Udzorong