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Bhalujhora bridge works to resume next month

The works on the construction of the new Bhalujhora bridge in Pasakha, including a multicellular culvert and blacktopping of 2.1km road connecting to the Pasakha Industrial Estate, will resume next month.

The project funded by Asian Development Bank under the South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity Project came to a halt after the previous contractor was terminated last year.

Three construction companies will work on the project, which was left by the previous contractor. The work is divided into three packages.  The first package includes the construction of a 122m pre-stress girder concrete bridge over Bhalujhora River and river protection works along the banks of the river. Construction Development Corporation Limited will continue on the works left by the previous construction company. The project is estimated to cost Nu 130mn for completion.

The second phase includes the development of 1.2km road from Bhalujhora to Bahunijhora,which is unpaved now. Also, a concrete multicellular culvert across the Bahunijhora stream will be constructed. A site development work for Land Customs Station will also be done under the same phase. The works on third package includes construction of gabion protection wall at Bahunijhora stream. Druk Chabchab Construction Company and Gyalcon Builders will work on Nu 110mn project as joint venture. The works will complete by 2019 and have15 months completion period. While the works on the first and third packages have been awarded, the work on the second package worth Nu 95mn has not been awarded in absence of competitive bidders. DOR’s Project Manager Sonam Tobgay said the evaluation of the bidders has been completed and work will be awarded soon. However, the work will commence from mid-January next year.

Meanwhile, to sustain the current Bhalujhohra bridge, which is damaged and on the verge of collapsing, the Project Engineer said they will undertake the construction of two protection walls at both sides.

“Only light vehicles used to ply across the bridge, while the heavy and medium vehicles still cross the river. It has been more than five years the bridge has been left unattended after damaged. We assure that the bridge will still function until the new bridge is constructed,” said Sonam Tobgay. The previous construction company has, meanwhile, completed 14% of the total works. Meanwhile, Bhutanese industrialists in Pasakha said the critical road conditions have impacted them by escalating their vehicles’ repair and maintenance cost. Also, the road consumes employees’ time as the vehicles need to travel at a slower speed.

The Vice President of the Association of Bhutanese Industries, Chimi Dorji Norbu, said the road and bridge need immediate attention as it serves as the main lifeline for the industries there.

Chimi Dorji Norbu, who is also the Managing Director of Druk Wang Alloys Limited, said he spends more than Nu 2mn on repairing and maintenance works of the company’s vehicles. The company has four buses, two Boleroes and two campers.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing

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