Ten years on, Kamala bridge yet to come into operationRoads linked to the bridge have been washed away by floodwaters, delaying the opening of the bridge.
The construction of a 470-metre long bridge across Kamala River that connects Dhanusha and Siraha districts started some 10 years ago. During the same period, two road sections were built on both ends of the under-construction bridge to link it to the Postal Highway.
Around 90 percent of the bridge construction work has been completed but the bridge won’t be open to the public any time soon since the roads leading to the bridge have been washed away by floodwaters in the river.
Currently, there are no roads linked to the bridge since road stretches on either side were washed away by the river which can swell up to 1,200 metres wide during monsoon, say local residents.
Last year, a 600-metre stretch of the blacktopped road, linking the western part of the bridge to Dhanusha, was swept away by the floodwaters. Bikram Yadav, coordinator of the Save Kamala campaign, said that the bridge cannot be used as there’s a risk of erosion during monsoon floods.
“The construction of the bridge is almost complete now but we will not be able to use it since there is no road connection,” said Krishna Kumar Mahato, chief at the Postal Highway Directorate Project Office in Janakpur.
The bridge project was awarded to Pappu Constructions in June 2011. As per the contract agreement, the builder was expected to complete the bridge within three years.
Due to the construction company’s delay in completing the bridge, authorities awarded the contract to Lumbini Builders two years ago.
“The river has been changing its course frequently in the last decade. It has grown wider. The length of the bridge should be extended and embankments should also be constructed on both sides to keep floodwaters from washing away the roads,” said Yadav.
According to Jayanath Yadav, a site engineer of the Postal Highway Directorate Project Office, works are being carried out to direct the course of the river towards the bridge area.
“A 500-metre-long channel is being constructed to direct the flow of the river towards the bridge area,” he said. “The bridge will come into operation by mid-April.”