Babai bridge damaged due to careless construction nearbyThe Bridge Division has been constructing a new two-lane bridge alongside an old one to connect Gulariya with the rest of the district.
A bridge over Babai river in Gulariya-Nepalgunj road section along the Postal Highway has been damaged, cutting off Gulariya, the district headquarters, from the rest of the Bardiya district.
The 35-year-old single-lane bridge is the only bridge linking Gulariya to other places in the district. The bridge was damaged because of the on-going construction of a new bridge alongside it, said Ram Surat Raya, a local of Bhada. “The old bridge is on the verge of complete collapse due to soil erosion caused by the ongoing construction work for a new bridge.”
The new bridge is designed to have six pillars for which the area was widened with the help of excavators. Raya believes that the use of the excavators have weakened the old bridge’s foundation, and this risk was not taken into consideration by the local administration. He said, “Every day, hundreds of vehicles including heavy good carriers pass through the bridge. The foundation of the old bridge was weak and the heavy work done around the area has added to the burden.”
According to the Bridge Division Area Number 3 in Nepalgunj, the authority concerned should put a complete ban on the operation of heavy vehicles over the bridge and its surrounding areas until the contractor completes the construction work of the new bridge.
Dhurba Bahadur Chand, an engineer at the Bridge Division, said that they have already informed the local administration and the Division Road Office about the weak condition of the bridge. He said, “Heavy vehicles should be banned from plying the bridge area for 15 days. And the old bridge should be repaired within that period to prevent collapse.”
A team of the officials of the District Administration Office and technician of Gulariya Municipality has already inspected the bridge.
Gopal Chaudhary, the technician of the municipality, said that the contractor company did not adopt safety measures while undertaking the construction of the new bridge. He said, “The foundation of the old bridge is cracked and the use of excavators to lay the foundation of the new bridge has only weakened it further.”
According to the Bridge Division Area Number 3 in Nepalgunj, Lama Swachhanda JV in Pulchowk, Lalitpur, has been constructing the new bridge at a cost of Rs 334.95 million. As per the agreement, the construction of the new bridge should be completed within December 2020.
Niraj Sharma, ward chairman of Gulariya Ward No. 6, said that the contractor company should immediately take protective measures, such as refilling the dug out area with soil to protect the old bridge from complete collapse. “Otherwise, vehicular movement along the road section will be obstructed cutting Gulariya resident from the rest of the district,” said Sharma.
The Post tried to contact the representatives of the contractor company but they were not reachable for comment.