Eight years on, bridge construction in limbo

Gaighat, July 9 

Construction of a motorable bridge over the Saptakoshi River at Phoksingtar along the Gaighat-Diktel road section has been sluggish.

The stipulated date for erecting the bridge expired three months ago. Construction was supposed to be completed by mid-April.

Project Chief Kailash Sah said only 30 per cent of the bridge construction works had been completed. The contractor company was directed time and again to accomplish the works soon, but it did not heed the reminders, he added.

Locals also blamed the contractor for delay in bridge construction. They demanded that the contractor company be blacklisted and action taken against it.

Gauri Parbati JV Company had signed the contract for construction of the bridge on 6 April 2011. The deadline for the project worth Rs 190 million was set for 6 April 2017. The contractor attributed the delay in bridge completion to difficulties in supplying materials due to geographical conditions of the project site and challenges in carrying out work during the rainy season, among others.

The project had changed its design in November 2016 saying a bridge with an arch design would be constructed. According to Department of Roads, the design was changed considering the geographical conditions of Phoksingtar. However, the contractor had achieved little prior to the decision to change the bridge design. The project deadline was extended by two years after the design was changed.

The delay in bridge construction, meanwhile, is costing the government millions of rupees every year for building a Bailey bridge as an alternative to the under-construction bridge. The motorable bridge, once completed, will facilitate vehicular movement between Udayapur and Khotang districts.