The Tshangchuthama (Nyeramachu) Bridge whose initial capacity was 18 metric tons has been strengthened and the bridge can now carry 35 metric tons of weight, which would benefit the people of Samdrupcholing Drungkhag, Samdrup Jongkhar district. Work towards this was conducted by the Department of Surface Transport, between 29th August to 6th September.
This involved the re-strengthening of the Tshangchuthama bailey bridge, thereby mitigating problems and risks while leading to improved safety, economic benefits, and enhanced accessibility for the local communities.
There were several problems and risks associated with the previous low carrying capacity of the bailey bridge.
Tshogpa of Phuntshothang Gewog, Yam Bahadur Adhikari said that the increased strength of the bridge will enhance its ability to withstand heavy loads, making it safer for all types of vehicles, including local heavy vehicles, coal-carrying vehicles, and those involved in the Gyalsung Project. The bridge will be able to handle increased traffic without compromising safety.
Earlier, the low carrying capacity of the bridge restricted the movement of heavy vehicles, such as trucks carrying coal and other heavy materials. The limited transportation capability was a major inconvenience to industries and projects that heavily relied on these vehicles for transport.
The other benefit is enhanced connectivity. The bridge plays a critical role in connecting various gewogs, namely Martshella, Pemathnag, Phuntshothang, and Samrang gewogs. By strengthening the bridge, the transportation network in the region will be improved, facilitating smoother movement of people, goods, and services between these gewogs. This will greatly benefit the public and promote economic development in the entire Dungkhag.
Phuntshothang Chiwog Tshogpa said safety was a concern with the earlier bridge. The bridge’s inability to accommodate heavy vehicles increased the risk of overloading, which could lead to structural damage or even collapse. This posed a significant threat to the safety of both the vehicles and the individuals crossing the bridge.
One of the villagers said that the upgrade of the bridge will increase accessibility. With the bridge being in good condition after maintenance, it will provide reliable and uninterrupted access for the residents of the Chiwog. This is especially significant for emergency services, such as ambulances and fire trucks, as well as the daily commuting of the residents, who rely on the bridge for various purposes like education, healthcare, and commerce.
The low carrying capacity, couldn’t serve the public effectively posing an accessibility challenge, especially in terms of accommodating a larger number of pedestrians and vehicles previously. This created congestion and inconvenience for people traveling to and from the Dungkhag or the neighboring gewogs.
The restricted carrying capacity of the bridge also hindered the efficient transportation of goods and materials, affecting trade and economic activities in the region. This limitation had a negative impact on the local economy and development.
People are of the view that strengthening the capacity of the bridge will improve livelihood. Villagers of Phuntshothang Gewog say that a strengthened bridge will have positive implications for local businesses and the overall economy. The efficient transportation of goods and services across the bridge will boost trade and commerce in the area, leading to increased economic opportunities for the residents. Additionally, local heavy vehicles and coal-carrying vehicles that previously faced restrictions or detours due to bridge limitations will be able to operate more efficiently, benefiting industries reliant on transportation.
Phuntshothang Gup, Jamyang Gyeltshen said that previously it was risky, especially for heavy vehicles. The re-strengthening of the Nyeramachu bridge will significantly benefit the people of four Chiwogs, ensuring enhanced safety, improved connectivity, increased accessibility, and improved livelihoods for the community. It will also benefit State Mining Corporation Limited, Gyalsung projects, and other offices.
The office of the Department of Surface Transport proposed Nu 39 mn to construct a bridge in the 2021 fiscal year. Though the new bridge construction was in the 12th Plan, it had to be dropped because of reprioritization. The span of 120 feet bridge was constructed in 2005.
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu