Floods, landslides damage at least three bridges, several road sectionsOfficials at the Department of Roads express fear that water-induced disaster this monsoon might inflict more damage on infrastructure than last year.
Floods and landslides triggered by incessant rains since Friday have damaged at least three bridges—one operating and two under construction bridges—and a number of road sections causing a halt to traffic.
A bridge over Bhasi stream in Mahottari, upper structures of under-construction bridges over Aurahi river in Dhanusa and Khadak Khola in Saptari were swept away in flash floods, according to the Department of Roads.
“After the bridge over Bhasi was damaged, vehicles are being diverted towards an alternative route around the area,” said Keshav Kumar Sharma, director general at the department.
The 50-metre bridge over the Bhasi river needs to be rebuilt as the flood swept away about 32 metres of the structure, according to the department.
As far as the other two under construction bridges are concerned, they will be the responsibility of the contractors. But the damage will delay the project, said Sharma.
The floods and landslides have also caused damage to a number of highways, obstructing the vehicular movements.
According to the Traffic Police and the Department of Roads, Besisahar-Chame, Ghurmi-Okhaldhunga, Khotang-Bhojpur and Beni-Jomsom roads have remained closed due to landslides and floods.
“We will only be able to open the Beni-Jomsom Road on Sunday as repair works are going on,” said Sharma.
The department said the rain-swelled Kaligandaki river had swept away about 20 metres of the road at Thasang Rural Municipality-4, Mustang.
According to Traffic Police, the BP Highway, which had been obstructed due to landslides at Mangaltar, Roshi and Dumja of Kavre, has opened for one-way traffic after clearing the landslides debris.
The vehicular movement was halted along the Pharping-Hetauda Road on Saturday due to landslides at Sisne, Daman and Palung. The Traffic Police notified people to seek an alternative road for travel.
The floods and landslides have also caused road obstructions in Udayapur, Tehrathum, Lalitpur, Makwanpur, Ilam, Dhading, Mahottari, Ramechhap, Rasuwa, Kalikot and Dailekh, the Traffic Police said on Saturday.
However, officials and the Department of Roads claimed that the country’s major highways, including Prithvi Highway connecting Kathmandu to Pokhara, Kathmandu-Rasuwagadhi road, have remained relatively trouble-free until Saturday evening.
While the Department of Roads has yet to assess the extent of the damages caused by landslides and floods, its spokesperson Shivahari Sapkota told the Post that damage on infrastructure this rainy season could be higher than last year. “We have seen more damages in the eastern part of the country,” he said. Floods and landslides have also caused loss of human life across the country, with the Nepal Police confirming 43 deaths until Saturday evening.