PALPA, June 30: The construction of two motorable bridges connecting Syangja of Gandaki Province and Palpa of Province 5 has been halted because of faults in their designs. An Agreement to complete the construction of the bridges in three years was signed eight years ago.
In the first phase of the construction, pillars were erected across the two ends of the bridge. However, a huge rock was discovered while trying to build a pillar in the middle of the bridge-space which led to the halting of the project.
The Road Division Office has informed Republica that the construction of a bridge between Damachaur of Chapakot Municipality-8 in Syangja and Pyakluk of Rampur Municipality-6 in Palpa couldn’t continue at the targeted pace. Similarly, the construction of the Nirdimghat Bridge connecting Nirdim of Chapakot Municipality-9 to Bhujat of Ramapur Municipality-8, too, has come to a halt.
On July 10, 2011, Elite-SBA Joint Venture (JV) signed the contract for the construction of the Damachaur Bridge. Similarly, Kankai/Millenium/Nepal Pragati JV signed the contract to build the other bridge. According to the Road Division Office Palpa Chief Engineer Kedar Prasad Nepal, there had been issues in constructing the foundation according to the design. “Creating an alternative design and getting the design and budget approved delayed the construction work,” Nepal said adding, “The revised design has been approved and work will resume immediately after the budget is finalized.”
The estimated cost will rise by 15 to 20 percent, according to the alternative design. It looks like the costs will double if a new tender is announced and a fresh contract is awarded to another construction company. Elite signed the contract for Rs 156.8 million, and has complete 35 percent of the construction work. Though all the construction materials are ready, the construction remains halted for the last three years because of the design change.
Similarly, an agreement for the Nirdimghat Bridge was signed for Rs 124.8 million. After building two pillars along the two ends of the bridge and one in the middle, the construction stopped as the design for the fourth pillar failed. Yam Bahadur Shrestha from the construction company said that the construction would finish in two years if a new design was passed. He said that the consultancy and engineers in-charge of soil testing were to be blamed as their mistakes led to this huge loss.
According to Road Division Office, Palpa, 35 percent construction work of the Nirdimghat Bridge has been completed.
Bishnu Maya Dhakal, a local of Rampur-6, said that though they had demanded the bridge construction, they were disappointed after the construction work was halted. “Business and trade between Gandaki Pradesh and Province 5 will increase if the bridge is built,” Dhakal said.
In the absence of a motor-able bridge, the locals have been forced to cross the suspension bridge in Damachaur on bikes. If the bridge is to be completed, locals of Syangja can easily commute to Rampur, Mityal, Arunkhola, and Terai. Similarly, people from Terai can easily travel to Pokhara.