MoPIT panel to submit initial probe report on collapsed Jabdighat Bridge soon

Kathmandu, August 28

After visiting the site of Jabdighat Bridge in Bardiya, the probe panel formed by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) is gearing up to submit its preliminary report in the next few days.

“We plan to submit our preliminary report within the next few days,” said Ayodhya Prasad Shrestha, coordinator of the probe committee and chief of Mid-western Regional Road Directorate Surkhet, adding that it would however take around a month to come up with a final report with the details of the technical cause of the collapse.

The 425-metre long bridge constructed over the Babai River in Bardiya had suffered severe damages due to the floods last Monday. “Because the water level has not receded much, we haven’t been able to

investigate the foundation of the bridge,” said Shrestha.

The 15-metre-long pile foundation of the bridge had collapsed last week. “We need to figure out whether the base of the pile foundation has also been damaged or only the top has been cracked. But we cannot figure that out until the water level in the river goes down,” he said.

According to him, the water flow is heavier around the collapsed pile. “The bridge has altogether 17 piles, with the river flowing below five piles,” Shrestha said.

The probe panel has planned to suggest the Department of Roads (DoR) to divert the river away from the damaged section to other sections of the bridge so that the technical cause of the damage can be ascertained.

The Jabdighat Bridge, which connects the East-West Highway, collapsed after the water level rose following the heavy monsoon rain in past weeks.

The bridge was constructed by Pappu Construction Pvt Ltd at a total cost of Rs 190.75 million. But the bridge was severely damaged just 14 months after its completion date. Pappu Construction had completed the construction of the bridge in July 2016 and the contractor claims that the one-year maintenance period of the bridge is also over.

The unfortunate incident has put the contractors and the government at loggerheads. Recently the Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN) issued a press statement alleging that the reason for the collapse was because the government had approved the faulty design provided by the DoR to the contractor. However, officials at MoPIT and DoR claim that government has never forced any contractor to construct any infrastructure based on faulty design.