The construction of a bailey suspension bridge over Drangmechu at Shing Phurtomo in Udzorong gewog will be completed by September 23, according to officials from the Department of Roads (DoR) in Trashigang.

Since the commencement of the works on February 26, 2016, the construction was delayed due to unavailability of building materials.

In particular, the absence of trewhella grabs, which had to be imported from the United Kingdom, deferred the completion of the bridge according to DoR officials. The bridge was initially scheduled to complete in February 2017.

Officials said that the trewhella grabs had to be imported since the only certified dealer of grabs was based in the UK. Trewhella grabs are metallic instruments used to clutch the metal cables in bridges. A total of 24 grabs were procured at a cost of Nu 1.3 million (M).

Works resumed at the 360ft bridge in July earlier this year after the arrival of the grabs. The financial implication from the delay was about Nu 1.6M, which was paid as compensation to the former contractor.

Former education minster, Norbu Wangchuk, in an interview with Kuensel on July 20 said that the bridge would be completed in the next 45 days. The bridge was one of the pledges the former minster had made to the people there. The 45 days deadline ended on September 3.

However, the delay in the arrival of some additional parts (nuts and bolts) for the tower erection caused further delay in the completion of the bridge.

The launching and decking works at the bridge is completed as of today according to officials. An Indian bridge construction company is executing the project currently.

Once completed, the bridge would connect Udzorong to Trashigang on the Mongar-Trashigang highway near Sherichu in Mongar. The bridge is located at some11km from the gewog centre.

Currently gewog residents 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 Gangkhar chiwog, one of the furthers chiwogs in the gewog, on foot. From there people board the local bus to travel to Mongar and Trashigang.

People’s Democratic Party’s president while meeting the people of Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong on September 11 said that with the completion of the bridge, a national highway would be constructed.

A total of Nu 31.6M (Nu 17M for the bridge parts and Nu 1.6M for the compensation) has been incurred in the construction of the bridge.

Meanwhile, Norbu Wangchuk, on September 3 posted on Facebook stating, “Udzorong Bridge finally taking shape. With much media attention, this Udzorong Bridge became my favourite project.”

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang