Bridges along Parbat section of Mid-Hill Highway in desperate need of repairAll five bridges were built some 30 years ago and lack of repair and maintenance over the years have left them riddled with potholes.
All five bridges along the 35km stretch of the Mid-Hill Highway in Parbat are in a dilapidated condition due to lack of maintenance and repair works. The bridges were built around 30 years ago while constructing the Pokhara-Baglung road.
Although the bridges have a life of around 50 years, they are in dire need of immediate repair, according to technicians.
“The entire stretch of the Patikhola bridge is full of potholes and I hit the railing when I was trying to manoeuvre my way around them last month,” said Rajkumar Chhetri, a taxi driver.
Minor road accidents are common occurrences along the Patikhola bridge stretch, says Rajendra Hamal, a local of Modi Rural Municipality Ward No. 2.
“The bridge has become a death trap. Motorcycle accidents occur every day here,” he said. “The other bridges along the highway are also in a dilapidated condition. We had requested the Mid-Hill road project to repair the bridges but no repair work has been done yet.”
According to the District Traffic Police Office, the potholes on the bridges are the main reasons behind accidents in the area.
"We have requested the contractor of the road project to have the bridges repaired but nothing has been done yet,” said Krishna Khadka, chief at the district traffic office. “There’s less traffic movement now due to the prohibitory orders in place but once vehicular movement resumes, there will certainly be an increase in the number of minor and major road accidents along the highway.”
He, however, said that the office does not have any data on the number of minor accidents with no human casualties.
The other four bridges at Modikhola, Jhyaplekhola, Odharekhola and Armadikhola along the highway are also in dire need of repair works.
According to a technical engineer at Modi Rural Municipality, the condition of the bridges has further deteriorated with the commencement of the Mid-Hill Highway project three years ago.
"Tipper trucks belonging to the project run across the bridge carrying excessive loads of construction materials,” he said, preferring anonymity. “The potholes are at least a foot deep in some places.”
The contract of the expansion work of the Mid-Hill Highway was awarded to Lama Construction Company. The company, however, has said that it did not have any plans to repair the bridges anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Aashish Thapa Magar, chief at the road project office in Parbat, claimed that all the bridges are technically fine.
"The bridges look dilapidated but their structures are fine. Only the road layer pitched on the bridges is damaged. The bridges don't have any problems regarding their weight-bearing capacity," said Thapa Magar.