Mahakali bridge work hits snag due to lack of construction materialsTo keep the Mahakali river on course, around 5.5 km-long embankment needs to be constructed for which large rocks are needed, project officials say.
The construction of a four-lane bridge over Mahakali River in Kanchanpur district connecting Dodhara Chandani Municipality with Bhimdatta Municipality is almost complete but the project has hit a snag. The work on the embankment (guide bund) of the river remains incomplete for a lack of large boulders needed for the construction, officials of the bridge project say.
The width of the Mahakali river where the bridge is situated is two kilometres. But the bridge is only 800 metres long. To keep the river on course, around 5.5 kilometres-long embankment needs to be constructed for which large boulders are needed, according to the design estimate of the bridge.
Kishor Pandeya, the engineer of the Kumar Shrestha CFEC JV, the construction company involved in the project, said 143,000 cubic metres of large stones are required for the construction of the embankment.
“We need 98,700 cubic metres of stones, each weighing more than 257 kilograms,” said Pandeya. “Our estimation shows that embankments built with such heavy boulders will not be swept away by Mahakali floods. The Detailed Project Report of the bridge has been prepared keeping this in mind.”
According to the DPR, large boulders have to be collected from Brahmadev and Bedkot areas, north-west from the construction site.
“The bridge will remain unused if we cannot construct an access road on its two sides. In the current fiscal year, the construction of a guide bund can be completed on one side of the bridge if we can procure the boulders immediately,” said Pandeya, adding that the construction of around 3.5 kilometres-long access road has also been stopped due to the delay in the construction of guide bunds.
The construction of 8.5 kilometres of access road from Gaddachauki of Bhimdatta to Malariya Nala in Dodhara Chandani is underway.
A few months ago, an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) report had also been prepared to collect boulders from Rautela, Khanya Khola, Kamikote and Bhimiragad in Brahmadev and Bedkot areas. A few days ago, the contractor company had started collecting boulders from the Khanya Khola area but the collection has been put on hold due to protests from the local people. According to the IEE, 250 cubic metres of stone can be collected from those areas on a daily basis.
“The collection of stones has stopped in Khanya Khola where IEE was conducted since the area belongs to the Division Forest Office,” said Ganesh Thagunna, an environmental officer of Bhimdatta Municipality. “The information came in only during land mapping. The collection of boulders has stopped, as excavation of construction materials from forest areas is prohibited.”
According to Ajaya Bikram Manandhar, chief at the Division Forest Office in Kanchanpur, only a Cabinet decision of the federal government can allow excavation of construction materials from the forest areas.
“The District Disaster Management Committee in Kanchanpur can also take decisions not to excavate construction materials if found at risk of disaster. Around 150,000 cubic metres of stones cannot be collected only from Brahmadev and Bedkot areas. So, the concerned authorities should find other alternatives,” Manandhar said.
Meanwhile, Santosh Karna, chief at Mahakali Bridge Project, said, “The decision should be made by the government. The construction of the bridge has gained pace but the construction of the access road has been stopped due to lack of required raw materials ”
The bridge project has also notified the higher authorities to solve the ongoing problem. “We have been asking the federal government to make a Cabinet decision and manage large stones and boulders to complete the construction work soon,” said Karna. The town of Dodhara Chandani, which is connected to the bordering Indian town via a suspension bridge, could develop into a major border town with the construction of the motorable bridge, he said.