Villagers and commuters of Pakchina and Dhungyena under Samphelling gewog are still clueless about when the new bridge across the Singye River near Pasakha Industrial estate will be opened.
The bridge which was started in 2007 initiated by Project DANTAK under General Road Engineering Force is not open for traffic.The bridge is an Indian government funded project worth Nu 39.4 mn.
The bridge construction had been halted by Dantak earlier because they were waiting for a “proof check” on certain portions of the bridge.
However, Business Bhutan learnt that Dantak would construct a new bridge over the river after dismantling the existing incomplete bridge. The tender for work has been floated and the work will soon be awarded. It would take only six months to complete the new bridge, an official from GREF said.
A small bridge near the new bridge is serving as a connecting point but the villagers feel are scared to use it as it is old and on the verge of collapsing.
The new bridge if opened will connect Tala from Phuentsholing benefitting more than 3,000 villagers of five villages under Samphelling gewog. Also, the road is being used by mining trucks to ferry boulders from three mines in Pakchina. More than 30 trucks use the old bridge today.
Man Bdr. Rai, another driver said that with the load restriction over the bridge, they carry limited load which is impacting the business. “Otherwise, we used to carry more, earlier,” he said. There are unloaded boulders stacked above the bridge.
A villager from Pakchina said that numerous complaints were made about the bridge but nothing concrete has come out. “We must comply with the load restriction where we have to pay extra to the vehicles when bringing construction materials,” said Dewan Rai.
The 55-m bridge connects the bypass road used by vehicles when the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway is closed due to roadblocks.
David Rai, a truck owner who uses the road to ferry boulder from the mining said that condition of the current bridge is deteriorating daily with the increasing use by travelers. “But the new bridge is yet to open for traffic. Safety will be ensured if the new bridge is open,” he said.
The old bridge has been used in 2016’s monsoon as an alternative route from Phuentsholing to Thimphu, during road block at Kamji.
Samphelling Gup, Mani Kumar Rai, said that the traffic movement is controlled to reduce risks to the villagers. A police is stationed at the bridge to monitor the weight of the load carried by the vehicle. However, without option, trucks carrying boulders have to use the bridge. “We are cautious about such cases. So monitoring is the only option until the new bridge is opened for traffic,” he said. Only 12 MT is allowed to cross across the old bridge.
Krishna Ghalley from Pasakha, Pling