Investigation on Kuri-Gongri Bridge Tragedy Continues 

Investigation on Kuri-Gongri Bridge Tragedy Continues 

It is been three days since the tragic incident wherein the entire nation had to bear the agony of seeing the Kuri-Gongri Bailey Bridge collapse leading to the deaths of two people. However, the government is yet to ascertain the exact cause of the tragedy and investigations are underway. 

During the 50th Meet the Press held on June 30, 2023, Lyonpo Dorji Tshering, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport (MoIT), informed this to the media saying that the exact cause behind the incident is still undetermined.

The minister said that the investigation process has been challenging due to the bridge and the involved truck being submerged in water. “This has made it difficult to gather conclusive evidence regarding the collapses.”

The minister added that in the previous bridge collapse, the load was situated between the two sides of the bridge, with a truck carrying soil from the Gyalposhing side. “However, the weight of the load remains unknown as the driver, when questioned, denied carrying an overload. This lack of information has contributed to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the cause of the collapse,” the minister added. 

Regarding the collapse of the recently reconstructed bridge the minister said that it could be either due to technical failure, an overload of trucks, or a combination of both factors. 

Further, the minister also said that on the day of the collapse, the trucks on the bridge included a 10-wheeler vehicle, and that a total of five trucks were present, with three having already departed. 

However, the minister said that the independent groups are currently conducting investigations to determine the reason behind the bridge’s causes of collapse. “Once the investigations are complete, we will inform the general public about the cause of collapse of the bridge,” the minister said. 

The minister said that the discussions are underway between the ministry, the government, and other relevant agencies to decide whether to reconstruct the Bailey bridge with new components or explore alternative modular bridge options.

The minister informed the media that the bridge will be rebuilt soon and that the efforts are being made to clear the road and restore connectivity as soon as possible.

Moreover, the minister said that they had been diligently monitoring and inspecting the bridge’s condition on an annual basis and had implemented backup measures to ensure its stability.

The reconstructed 190ft Bailey bridge over Drangmechhu at the Kuri-Gongri confluence in Monggar that was recently repaired and inaugurated collapsed again on 27 June, 2023.  

During the incident, it was said that a ten-wheeler vehicle carrying bricks for the Gyalsung Project at Bondeyma in Limethang caused the second collapse of the 190ft Bailey bridge over Drangmechu at Kuri-Gongri in Monggar. 

A couple in their mid-thirties from Tsirang were in the vehicle when the incident took place and their bodies are still unrecovered.  

The bailey bridge first collapsed on May 23, 2023 under the load of a dumper truck that carried an extra weight of around 10MT beyond the bridge’s gross carrying capacity.

The reconstruction that was completed earlier this month cost Nu 2.8mn.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu