Villagers say the bridge has reduced travel distance from Udzorong to Trashigang by more than 25kms
Around 600 households of Udzorong gewog in Trashigang are literally reaping the benefits of the bailey suspension bridge over Drangmechu at Shing Phurtomo that opened to traffic in September last year.
The 360ft long bridge connects Udzorong gewog of Trashigang to Trashigang-Mongar highway at about three kilometers beyond the Dremitse (Mongar) zero point.
Villagers say it used to take more than three hours to reach Trashigang from Udzorong earlier, but the bridge has reduced travel distance by more than 25kms.
Initially, people of Udzorong travelled on the 25kms gewog centre (GC) road that connects to the Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang highway at Khengtongmani and drove about another 35kms to reach Trashigang.
Besides benefiting the villagers from the four chiwogs of Rizor, Barkazor, Jomotshang and Bepam of Udzorong gewog, the bridge has also benefitted more than 400 households of Dremitse.
Udzorong Gup Dorji Tshering said the bridge over Drangmechu has immensely benefited the people of the gewog.
“Especially for official works the bridge has been convenient. Now we do not have to travel through the 70kms long stretch road to reach to the Dzongkhag office,” he said.
According to the Gup, the bridge has reduced the travel distance by about 25kms to reach to Trashigang. Additionally, the bridge also serves as an alternative route for the people of other eastern dzongkhags.
After the completion of the bridge, Dorji Tshering said the Udzorong road has become like a highway. “People from the east, especially people from Lhuentse, Mongar and Trashiyangtse travelling to Samdru pjongkhar directly travel from Udzorong gewog as the bridge has reduced the travel time.”
55-year-old Karchung from Udzorong said gewog residents initially had to travel more than 70kms 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 furthest chiwogs in the gewog, on foot and from there people board the local bus to travel to Mongar and Trashigang.”
He said the bridge has been a blessing to the commuters.
Another resident said the distance to Trashigang and Mongar has been reduced considerably, saving both time and money with the bridge.
He added people faced hardships earlier without the bridge.
Udzorong Gup said the road that connects Udzorong GC until the bridge site at Shing Phurtomo falls under the farm road and that there is no such planning for blacktopping the road.
“However, we are planning to do maintenance works on time since it is benefiting the public in large,” he added.
Meanwhile, the bailey suspension bridge with a load capacity of 24tons with a carriageway width of 3.277mts was constructed with a total budget of Nu 31.6mn and was funded by the Government of India.
The construction of the bridge began in 2015.
Jigme Wangchen from Odzorong, T/gang