Bridge collapses within year of completion, villagers suffer

A culvert bridge across the Lorikha river in Tading gewog in Samtse has collapsed within a year of its completion and has never been repaired since.

Currently, the villagers are using a temporary wooden bridge to cross the river.

Built in 2012 by a private construction company, the bridge was used by more than three villages of the gewog. Also, the people used the bridge to reach the gewog center which lies across the river for their official works.

M/S Tshenrab Construction Company had carried out the works in 2012. However, the bridge has not lasted for more than a year. The contractor said that the bridge was constructed according to the specifications provided by the gewog administration. The contractor had proposed the administration to go for a bailey bridge foreseeing the durability of the bridge. The seven-meter bridge was constructed in the presence of government officials, according to the contractor, Tshenda.

The Nu 1.2mn bridge collapsed after the river washed away the base of the bridge. Since then the bridge was left untouched. The contractor said that seven meters long was too short for the river. “I have worked in presence of the officials and handed over to them. I have constructed according to the drawings and the estimates,” Tshenda said.

The Department of Roads (DoR) has recently surveyed the bridge for reconstruction according to the contractor and proposed for a 27m-long bridge.

Meanwhile, people have been waiting for a new bridge. The bridge is supposed to help the people and students reach school during summer when the river swells and becomes difficult to cross. Only heavy vehicles can cross the river during summer.  “We have been waiting for the bridge to be reconstructed. But nothing has happened after almost five years. Maybe no one is bothered,” said Dilip Ghalley, a villager. It has inconvenienced the people to transport goods across the river.

Another villager said that the bridge would serve as a lifeline for the people to transport heavy goods across the river. “We have been waiting for years now. We would be happy if the government constructs a new bridge,” said a farmer from Tading gewog.

With the opening of the Amochhu Bridge, the bridge over the Lorikha Bridge could help the people to reach Phuentsholing faster.

Tading Gup Jagath Bdr. Ghalley said that the work has already been taken up by DoR. The gewog administration had tried to mobilize funds for the reconstruction but could not. “We planned to reconstruct the bridge but since it’s under DoR, we could not take any action,” he said.

Samtse Dzongkhag Planning Officer Tashi said that the work was stalled with the plan to shift the gewog center to Panbari. Also, he said that the audit was done on the construction of the bridge which pointed a flaw from the contractor during the construction. “It has reported a man-made disaster which made it fail technically,” he said.

Meanwhile, the dzongkhag has proposed to restart the construction estimated to be around Nu 7mn in the 12th Plan.

The villagers across the bridge are however connected internally through a farm road from Suntaley.

Krishna Ghalley from Tading, Samtse