Bridges along the East-West Highway in dilapidated conditionThe Nawalparasi stretch is one of the busiest sections of the East-West Highway. According to the district traffic police office, more than 1,200 vehicles use the road daily.
Most of the bridges along the Nawalparasi section of the East-West Highway are in dilapidated condition.
Movement of trucks laden with goods weighing more than the weight limit of the bridges and a lack of regular maintenance have left the bridges in poor condition, according to technicians. Bridge collapse is a regular phenomenon in Nawalparasi.
On August 14, a steel truss bridge across the Arun stream in Nawalparasi (East) suffered severe damage when it was hit by a truck. Thousands of passengers had been stranded as vehicular movement came to a halt for 35 hours on the eve of Janai Poornima, a Hindu festival. Transportation resumed after authorities built a diversion, but it took hours for vehicles to pass the poorly built temporary structure.
Two days ago, technicians from the Division Road Office, Butwal, repaired the damaged bridge that was built four decades ago.
“But we don’t know when the bridge might suffer damage again,” said a local.
Bridges along the road section suffer damage almost every year. In December 2016, a truss bridge over the Baulaha stream in Devchuli caved in after a truck crashed into it. In July 2015, Jayashree bridge in Gaindakot broke down due to heavy load.
There are around 40 small and big bridges along the Gaidakot-Sunwal road section in Nawalparasi. Among them, 10 are steel truss bridges that are highly prone to damage mainly due to overload. Officials from the Division Road Office said those bridges were constructed in the years 1978 to 1981, and the life of such bridges is about 40 to 45 years.
Hari Prasad Subedi, an engineer at the Division Road Office, said that most of the bridges in the district had to be repaired.
“The division office repairs those bridges from time to time,” said Subedi.
The stakeholders, however, claimed that the division office did not pay much attention to repairing the bridges, as road expansion work is underway in the section. The contractor has to construct new bridges while expanding the road section.
The Nawalparasi stretch is one of the busiest sections of the East-West Highway. According to the district traffic police office, more than 1,200 vehicles use the road daily.