After 9 Years, The Amochhu Bridge In Bhutan Finally Opened On 14 July 2018

Email

The driving distance between Phuentsholing and Samtse is now reduced to 57km from 81.2km

Amochhu Bridge in Bhutan. (Source: Kuensel Online)

 

By Rajesh Rai | Kuensel

After nine years and three months, the much – awaited 175-metre Amochhu Bridge finally opened to traffic on July 14.

The construction of this bridge started in April 2009. Since then it has missed more than seven deadlines.

The bridge that now officially connects Phuentsholing, Chukha with Samtse and Haa is the longest bridge and the first of its kind in Bhutan. It is a 3D-parabolic semi-through steel arch bridge with a carrying capacity of 40 metric tonnes. 

 

Source: Kuensel Online

 

The bridge was inaugurated by the Lyonpo Dorji Choden, the Information and Communications Minister DN Dhungyel, Home Minister Dawa Gyaltshen, some parliament members, officials from DoR and the two dzongkhags of Chukha and Samtse were also present. 

Some comments from the locals

The driving distance between Phuentsholing and Samtse is now reduced to 57km from 81.2km which used to be via the Indian highway. 

At the bridge site, a taxi driver from Khenpagaon of Tading gewog, Samtse, Pokchay Bomjan, 39 said the inauguration of the bridge is historic.

“I am plying to Phuentsholing through this route for the first time,” the driver said. “Now I can directly drive to Phuentsholing.”

Prior to its official opening, people from Dophuchen drungkhag that comprise three gewogs of Dophuchen (Dorokha), Denchukha, and Dumtey used the suspension bridge besides the Amochhu Bridge. They transhipped goods and commodities bought from Phuentsholing.

Maya Devi Ghalley, 54, who runs a canteen close to the bridge, said that she opened her shop just a year before the bridge construction commenced in 2009.

“I am the only canteen owner here today,” she said, adding she would lease government land and continue to run her canteen.

She also added that so much had happened in the last nine years. The bridge was affected several times, she observed.

The tumultuous history in getting the bridge constructed

First, the JV partnership between the Bhutanese construction firm, Bhutan Builders and its India-based partner DK Engineering & Construction private limited were terminated in 2011.

Bhutan Builders and DK Engineering & Construction private limited were terminated 30 months after the work was awarded. These construction companies had failed to complete 50 percent of the work target in the stipulated time.

Later in 2016, Gaseb Construction and its Nepal based JV partner Kalika Construction were also terminated for failing to complete the work on time. The firms had delayed the project for two months, which according to the committee risked the bridge to more natural disasters.

The decision to terminate Gaseb and Kalika was approved by a Ministerial Level Tender Committee (MLTC) of works and human settlement ministry. A Siliguri based company Santalall & Brothers Limited (SBL) was then appointed to complete the job.

The Amochhu flood in July 2015 also caused huge damage to the construction and a loss of about Nu 10M was reported. This also changed the deadline.

According to the Works and Human Settlement Minister, Dorji Choden, the bridge was long overdue. She said that a lot of problems were faced in the process of construction.

“We faced technical problems and contractual problems but in the end our own engineers were able to solve all the problems,” the Lyonpo said.

 

Source: BBS

 

The Lyonpo commented, “The engineers have done a great job.”

Benefits that the Amochhu Bridge will bring

The DoR Chief Engineer in the Phuentsholing regional office, Dorji Wangdi said that the Amochhu Bridge is something to be proud of.

“This bridge will immensely benefit people and the communities,” the chief engineer said. “This connectivity will also help alleviate poverty.”

Tading gup Jagath Bahadur Ghalley said that the bridge has already benefitted people in his gewog.

“From today, a farmers’ dairy group has started to take milk to Phuentsholing,” he said.

He also said that the distance between Tading and Phuentsholing has been shortened to eight to nine kilometres.

The transportation of construction materials, which has once been a major problem, is solved now, Jagath Bahadur Ghalley said.

“Our people also can avail the varieties of goods and commodities from Phuentsholing compared to Samtse,” the gup said, adding that farmers would now be able to grow more vegetables and take them to sell in Phuentsholing, Thimphu, and Paro.

Business people from Dophuchen have also started travelling to Phuentsholing via the new highway.

Taxi driver Pokchay Bomjan said that the people of Tading had almost lost hope when the bridge was supposed to be completed in the fourth and fifth year. “Its completion has finally come back as a celebration.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.

 

 


Related Posts

Amochhu Bridge Ready Next Month

The bridge’s construction began in April 2009. DoR’s chief engineer in Phuentsholing, Dorji Wangdi, said the department...

Feb 12, 2018 17:31

East-West Road Widening Project Enhances Travelling For Bhutanese...

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, in an earlier interview with the Bhutanese media, said that the East-West Highway is an...

Dec 05, 2017 06:01

Eco friendly roads in Bhutan, a possibility

Modern technology offers various opportunities to implement new eco-friendly and cheap road building methods. Some local...

Oct 03, 2017 12:07

New Airbus A319 for Bhutan Airlines Is Open To Exploring New...

“For now we are open to Thailand, India and Nepal but if the market demands, we will definitely increase our destination...

Jun 27, 2018 08:39

Drukair reduces fare on lower fuel cost

Drukair's savings on fuel to be pass on to consumers

Dec 28, 2017 10:33

Drukair to Resume Flights to Yonphula & Gelephu on 11 November...

The two domestic airports Gelephu and Yongphula, upgraded with a US$6.9 million grant from the Asian Development Bank...

Oct 28, 2017 08:55

Latest

News

Surgery To Separate Bhutanese Conjoined Twins Postponed

One of the twins' health has declined, revealed late night tests just before surgery on Friday.

Oct 12, 2018 16:27

Conjoined Twins From Bhutan To Be Separated On Friday

The marathon surgery may take six to 12 hours to complete. It involves getting the liver divided safely.

Oct 09, 2018 10:35

Features

Discover Drupthob Chagzampa – The Great Iron Bridge Builder Who Constructed At Least 60 Suspension Bridges In Bhutan And Tibet

Revered as Drupthob Chagzampa or the ‘Great Iron Bridge Builder’, he was an early and unequalled master of engineering skills.

Oct 14, 2018 16:33

Carbon Negative Bhutan Strives To Maintain Its Status As The ‘Shangri-La’ With A Pristine Environment

The mountainous state absorbs three times more carbon dioxide than it emits, thanks mainly to the lush forests covering 72 per cent of its...

Oct 12, 2018 17:36

Sports

Bhutan's 'Judo Girl' Fighting For Her Sport Back Home

By competing at the Youth Olympic Games Bueno Aires 2018, 16-year-old Yangchen Wangmo is blazing a trail for judo in the small archery-mad...

Oct 10, 2018 12:45

Two Para Athletes To Represent Bhutan At 3rd Asian Para Games (6-13 Oct) In Palembang, Indonesia

Organised by the Asian Paralympic Committee, the Asian Para Games will be held from 6 - 13 October in Jakarta - Palembang, Indonesia.

Oct 06, 2018 13:06

Business

Bank At Your Doorstep – Bank Of Bhutan Introduces ‘Banking On Wheels’

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) introduced ‘banking on wheels’ on 3 Oct 2018. It travels to various areas in Thimphu on a fixed weekly schedule.

Oct 09, 2018 17:36

CDK - A Contemporary And Eco-Friendly Clothing Line By Chandrika Aims To Preserve Traditional Bhutanese Textile

Chandrika Tamang was inspired to come up with her own line of designer clothing to fill the void in the market for contemporary Bhutanese...

Sep 29, 2018 16:19

Travel

Be Intrigued By The Kunzang Khorlo Graph Found On The Walls Of Monasteries In Bhutan

In Bhutan, the circular or full wheel style of artistic poetry is found on the walls of many temples and dzongs as one enters the premises.

Oct 13, 2018 18:01

Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan Serves As A Platform For Members To Share Information, Enhance Hospitality Skills And More

Currently, the hotels in Bumthang, Trashigang, Gelephu, Mongar, Lhuentse, Trashiyangtse, Samdrupjongkhar and Phuentsholing have decided to...

Oct 10, 2018 17:19

Lifestyle

ShaMa Foundation Reaches Rural Bhutan, Helps To Provide Potable Water To Remote Villages

The program aims to provide access to safe drinking water in remote and challenging geographies in Bhutan.

Oct 15, 2018 20:39

Gabbar – The Popular Street Food Vendor Of Trashigang Known For His Momos And Other Snacks

Sonam Wangdi started his business in early 2008 in the dzongkhag. The 40-year-old entrepreneur began selling momo (dumplings) on foot.

Oct 05, 2018 16:53

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!