Pillars yet to be built even after exceeding deadline

Published On: November 16, 2019 09:34 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 16: After exceeding the construction deadline by six months, even pillars for the bridge at Phoksingtar, connecting Khotang and Udaypur districts, have not been built.

The contractor Gauri Parbati YP JV has failed to make progress on the Sunkoshi Bridge that connects Licchiramche at Khotehang Rural Municipality-9 and Aaptar at Rautamai Rural Munisipality-5, under the Diktel-Gaighat road section.

The company was awarded the contract in April 2013. The design of the bridge was changed in November 2016. The project's deadline was on April 2019.

Divisional Engineer Kailash Shah, project head of Department of Roads, said that only 30% of work has been completed even after the project is past the deadline. As per the project office, 11.88 meter tall pillars are needed to be built on each side of the river but only 9.38 meters long pillars have been built.

Shah said that the company had secured the contract to construct a 'suspension bridge', but later the design was changed to 'arch designed bridge'. According to project officials, the procedure to extend deadline has been started as the contract has already expired.

The cost of construction of the arch bridge is estimated at Rs 196 million. Locals are unhappy with the snail-paced work on a bridge that connects two districts. They vent their ire on the contractors through social media and public events.

Bishal Bhattarai, Member of Parliament from the district, stated that the company should be blacklisted due to its tendency of delaying works.

Phoksingtar is a crucial point also because it connects the hilly district of Khotang to the national road network.

Due to the geographical complexity of Phoksingtar and to avoid delay, the bridge design was changed from suspension type to arch type. The contractor could not start work until the second design was approved. Now, the company claims that the work was delayed because of design change and delay in approval of the design. However, locals say that the contractor's slow work is the cause of the delay in construction. The construction work is halted during monsoon every year.


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