NAWALPARASI, Dec 13: A large number of bridges in Nawalparasi stretch of the East – West highway have become outdated and in desperate need for repair.
The dilapidated bridges over the Baulaha, Jayashri, Arun, Danda and Lokaha rivers without proper maintenance and repair work are posing real time risk for commuters. The uncertainty over the time when the bridges would give way under any form of impact is spreading a sense of fear. The bridges are verging on collapsing.
Most of the bridges made of steel are becoming weaker as many bridges have passed their ages. The bridges are made of special steel which can only be purchased from London, UK. The bridges were constructed some 33 years ago in 2040 BS and are desperately in need for repair.
The bridges constructed on the highway have an estimated age of 40 to 50 years, but the steel bridges are starting to come off. Experts have said the other bridges will fare no better and are likely to collapse.
The Road Division Office, Butwal is not paying the due attention to the need for maintenance of the bridges which is the reason the bridges are weakening at the possible expense of indefinite losses including human casualties. The unchecked dredging to extract pebbles, stones, gravels and sand from the rivers flowing from Mahabharata range and Chure area is also to be blamed for the weakening state of the bridges.
The locals accuse the authorities of maintaining and repairing the bridges as if only fiddling with the bridge and not giving due serious attention.
As per the rule, vehicles carrying more than 18 tonnes of load are not allowed passage over the bridges, but in practice more than 40 tonnes of load are given passage. The police administration is doing nothing to check this. Many bridges are narrow and have taken on a worn out look with repeated friction.
The Road Department and Bridge Project carried out a study two years ago and concluded in a report that 12 steel bridges of the total of 42 bridges along Butwal – Narayangadh road stretch were in risk of collapsing with emphasis on immediate need for repair. It is not known if the report was ever implemented. RSS