Newly built Banke bridge collapses

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BANKE, APR 05 – The foundations of a bridge constructed last year at Jethinala VDC, connecting Simalghari and Samjhana Chowk, has started sinking before being handed-over by the contractor. The average life span of a motorable bridge is expected to be 25-50 years.

The bridge constructed at an estimated cost of about Rs 10 million had started sinking after the bridge began succumbing to the floods last year. The bridge connects to Nepal-Gulariya Postal Highway and the East-West Highway.

Repeated attempts by the District Development Committee to contact the construction company had gone in vain. It was only after the DDC frozen the account along with its collateral kept as security at the bank that a representative from the construction company Surya Allied Joint-Venture showed up.

After the approach slab of the bridge was damaged by floods, last year, the right foundation pillars of the bridge had sunk. The flood waters, at the time, had flown from over the bridge.

Meanwhile, even the bridge constructed over Duduwa stream in Ranjha VDC, two years ago has sunk.  “As the contractor was yet to hand over the bridge, it is their liability to conduct necessary repairs,” said chief engineer Gaurilal Shrestha at the District Technical Office. While the construction company has pledged to conduct necessary repairs, the DDC has allocated Rs 2 million for repair work in the bridge over Duduwa, constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 26.9 million. Heavy vehicles have remained off the Duduwa bridge for the time being. Previously, the bridge had been damaged twice while in construction.

Around Rs 100,000 has been allocated for repairs at the culvert in Guruwa village in Belhari VDC. The culvert was constructed at the local level by the consumers’ committee. Similarly, the bridge constructed a decade ago over Pedari stream near Chanhawa village connecting Khajura Ek Number-Bankatwa has also been damaged. While the causeway built in Morangwa stream in Baijapur is also in shambles and the expense for repair is estimated to be Rs 1 million.

According to technicians, the tendency of leaving the construction of gabion walls and embankments near the bridges contributed to the bridges’ damage or collapse in short time. Stating that the government allocates budget for the construction of two bridges each year, the DDC said that they had used the funds to conduct repair works on Jethinala and Dudwa bridges this year.