Additional 2,400 trail bridges needed in Nepal

Kathmandu, November 14

Over 7,500 trail bridges have been constructed in the past 50 years to connect human settlements separated by around 6,000 rivers and streams throughout the country.

According to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, it seems necessary to construct around 10,000 trail bridges in the country. “If we look into the report of needs assessment survey conducted a decade ago and the infrastructures built so far, the government has yet to construct 2,400 more trail bridges over major river crossings,” said Joint Secretary Suresh Adhikari, who is also the spokesperson for the MoFAGA. A total of 447 trail bridges were constructed across the country in the fiscal 2017-18.

He informed that the government had set the target of completing construction of trail bridges within three years to increase people’s accessibility so that people did not have to take a detour of more than one hour. Many people have lost their lives while crossing rivers on foot or using tuins (cable contraptions) in the past.

A press release issued by the MoFAGA today said the government had already developed a three-year plan with financial arrangements to complete construction of 2,400 additional trail bridges in all viable places.

Trail Bridge Sectoral Programme Steering Committee under the MoFAGA has clearly identified the responsibilities of all three levels of government as per the constitution and prevailing legal provisions to enhance their partnership and collaboration in implementing the ambitious plan, it informed.

As per the responsibilities entrusted by the committee, the federal government will handle the budget allocation, global tender process and construction of complex and state-of-the-art trail bridges. Similarly, the responsibility of formulating provincial plan, allocation of provincial budget and other resources, storage and management of construction materials, procurement of steel parts at the request of local levels, and construction of trail bridges of specific length will rest with the provincial governments.

On the part of local levels, they will construct trail bridges of less than 120 metres in length by mobilising construction entrepreneurs and repair/maintain them at their own expenses on a regular basis. According to the MoFAGA, Trail Bridge Support Unit will provide technical assistance to all three levels for quality assurance and implementation of construction plans in accordance with an agreement reached between the Government of Nepal and its Swiss counterpart.

The MoFAGA said in the press release that as many as 569 under-construction trail bridges would be benefited from the technical assistance of the unit in the ongoing fiscal. Similarly, it is set to prepare detailed project reports of around 700 trail bridges and hand them over to the concerned provincial and local levels.