Bhalujhora bridge construction scheduled for completion by end of the May and to be opened to traffic by the first week of June, is still under construction. The bridge can be possibly opened to traffic by the first week of July.
Project Manager of SASEC project, DoR, Tshewang, said, “The project management now further plans to open the new bridge to traffic by the first week of July 2019. The overall physical progress for this package is 97 percent. And 1.300 km road and multi-cellular box culvert at Bawanijhora is completed and opened to traffic from May 2019.”
Meanwhile, the temporary Bhalujhora Bailey bridge collapsed when a heavily loaded truck drove over the bridge on 1 June. However, it was re-launched in a day’s time by regional office, DoR, Phuntsholing.
“Signboards are placed at the start of the bridge showing the direction for heavy and light vehicles. Besides traffic signage, DoR has also placed restriction gate through which only light vehicles can pass. However, all these safety measures put in place by the department are in vain,” the project manager added.
The Bailey bridge rests over the piers of the old bridge. The piers are found to be strong enough to withstand light loads. Heavy vehicles are only allowed to travel through the bypass from the river upstream.
Bailey bridge can be constructed even for heavy vehicles otherwise, he said, adding that so long it is used by the vehicles specified by them it is safe and stable. He said, “It is only second time Bhalujhora bailey bridge is launched. First time it was launched in February 2018 and one which was damaged recently by Indian truck and was re-launched.”
The department along with traffic police monitors the site to ensure heavy vehicles will not ply over the Bailey bridge. However, he said that monitoring the vehicles for 24 hours at site is difficult, especially during the break hour.
He said falls to the management of the industrial association to inform their respective heavy vehicle drivers to avoid using the bailey bridge. Further, “Media can help us disseminate and educate our drivers to follow the safety signs installed along the roads in the interest of safety for all road users. We are trying our best to provided public services in an all-out effort,” Tshewang added.