Massive mudslides flowing through the Bahunijhora stream buried the Multicellular Box Culvert of the bridge yesterday. The culvert bridge was recently cleared from the debris which covered the bridge early this month.
The slide has also buried a Maruti van which was returning from the hospital at 2am. The van was partially buried when the driver left it to retrieve it in the morning. Later, the van was buried but was later rescued.
This has cut off the road network for the industrial estate and people of Pasakha and Samphelling gewog.
Department of Roads has cleared the road and it is now open for traffic. DOR has deployed two excavators. Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI) assisted DOR by deploying one pay loader to clear the road.
However, the bridge has been declared safe without damage by DOR. DOR’s Chief Engineer Dorji Wangdi said that the appropriate measures are taken to safeguard the bridge during its construction. The gabion walls above the bridge are also buried.
DOR has not cleared the debris at the both sides of the road to keep the bridge safe. They have cleared only debris stacked on the road to open the road for traffic flow. Clearing the debris above would allow the force to increase and the risk is likely to increase for the slide to damage the bridge, according to the Chief Engineer. “The debris, if cleared under the bridge would damage the bridge when such landslides occur. So the debris would slow the force thereby saving the bridge,” he said.
DOR has deployed two excavators to clear the blocks since June this year at either sides of the bridge. Operating one excavator would cost around Nu 0.3mn a month to DOR. The department deploys upto four at the site during heavy rainfall when the risk to the bridge increases. “We will ensure the road will be safe to travel,” he said.
Bahunijhora’s multicellular box culvert has become important for the industries and the people of Samphelling gewog, serving as main access route. Before the bridge, vehicles have been diverted through unpaved road having to cross free flowing streams.
M/s Bhutan Builders Private Limited has built the bridge at the cost of Nu 12mn, a grant from Asian Development Bank under South Asian Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)’s Road Connectivity Project.
Krishna Ghalley from Pasakha, P/ling