July 18, 2021 03:43 PM NPT
UDAYAPUR, July 18: The Siwai bridge which was completed after almost 12 years of construction went out of commission two weeks ago after getting severely damaged by the flood in the Triyuga River in Chaudandigadi Municipality-5 in Udayapur district. Also, two additional pillars and three slabs of the bridge which connects Siwai and Belhi were washed away by the flood following incessant rainfall since Saturday morning.
Two weeks ago, floods in the region destroyed one of the bridge's pillars and two slabs. Earlier, an expert technical team formed by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had arrived at the bridge to study the damage. The bridge was further damaged by floods the very next day after the team of experts including Senior Division Engineer of Division Road Supervision and Monitoring Office of Damak, Senior Divisionsion Engineer of Bridge Division and an engineer of Bridge Sector 1 of Dharan had left on Friday. The bridge was further damaged by the floods before the study report by the expert team could be made public. Locals believe that no reports will be relevant following the incident
According to locals, the bridge has become useless after two additional pillars and three slabs were swept away by the floods and reconstruction of the bridge is needed instead of repairs. The bridge which was being constructed under the supervision of Gaighat Diktel Road Project was estimated to be completed this month and decisions regarding the opening ceremony were underway. However, the bridge was severely damaged on July 4 and was further destroyed by the floods on Saturday, a day after the team of experts left.
The 250 meters long and 5.30 meters wide bridge was constructed with 12 pillars and 11 slabs, out of which three pillars and five slabs have been completely destroyed by floods. According to the technicians, the repair works on the bridge will be useless given the magnitude of damage. The motorable bridge which was constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 97.6 million exceeded to Rs 112.7 million when the construction was not completed on time, chief of Gaighat Diktel Project Office, Gopal Khakurel said.
According to Khakurel, a study of the bridge needs to be done to see if it can be repaired or not. The construction project of the bridge had started in 2010 by Mahalaxmi/Lokpriya JB Kalanki while the design and soil testing were done by Soil Consultancy of Balaju, Kathmandu. Further study will be done to know if the construction of the bridge was done using low quality materials or other reasons, he added.
There is a provision that the contractor will be responsible for repairing the damaged bridge within a certain period of time even after the bridge was handed over by the construction company. However, the bridge was damaged before the hanover process could even begin. The study of the bridge needs to be done again, as the infrastructure was further damaged by the recent flood, Khakurel said. In addition, the Mahalaxmi/Lokpriya JB construction company has already paid a fine of around Rs 10 million for their negligence in the construction of the bridge.
The damage of the bridge which took almost 12 years to complete has left the locals with no other alternative than to use boats to cross the river for another five to seven years, Mayor of Chaudandigadhi Municipality, Khagendra Rai said. Locals of Chaudandigadhi-5 will have to use boats in order to reach Beltar, Rai said. We have always urged the authorities to construct the bridge as soon as possible, but the recent damage on the bridge due to the floods has killed the hopes of the locals for a safer and easier means to cross the river. Furthermore, Mayor Rai has demanded an immediate construction of the bridge to connect ward 9 and ward 10 and end the obligation faced by local residents to cross the river by boat.