Bagmati, Dhobikhola bridge work crawlsExpansion work of two bridges over Bagmati and Dhobikhola rivers between Tinkune-Maitighar road progresses slowly, just like the traffic on one of Kathmandu’s busiest routes.
Expansion work of two bridges over Bagmati and Dhobikhola rivers between Tinkune-Maitighar road progresses slowly, just like the traffic on one of Kathmandu’s busiest routes.
The Department of Roads (DoR) in December 2014 announced plans to expand the two-lane bridges after studies showed they caused major traffic congestion in Tinkune-Maitighar.After the authorities upgraded the Tinkune-Maitighar section to eight lanes, traffic snarls at the two-lane bridge are routine.
The expected time to expand both bridges was two years. Under the aegis of Kathmandu Valley Road Improvement Project, construction of these two bridges started on December 29, 2014. The project deadline for Dhobikhola Bridge was 36 months and 42 months for Bagmati Bridge.The first deadline of expanding the bridge over Dhobikhola in Bijuli Bazaar expired on December 29, 2017 while the second one over Bagmati River is due on June 29 next month.
Site In-charge of both projects Bishwa Bijayalal Shrestha said designing of bridges took a lot of time.“These bridges with arch design are the first of its kind in the country. The contract terms stipulate the contractor must prepare the design and then construct the bridge,” he said. Designing of the arch, done in Bangladesh, took longer than expected, said Shrestha, which delayed the construction phase. “Construction started almost a year after awarding the contract. Considering the time taken for designing, we had to extend the deadline for one more year for Dhobikhola Bridge,” he said.
The new deadline for the Dhobikhola Bridge is December 29, 2018. It takes into account the frequent digging at the project site for sewage management, and installation of drinking water pipes and electrical poles. Deputy Director General of Bridge Division, under the Department of Road (DoR), Arjun Jung Thapa said contractor JAYEE Construction had completed around 40-50 per cent of work at Dhobikhola project.Progress at Bagmati Bridge is slower with less than 30 per cent work complete. Pappu Construction, the contractor, has to complete the project this year.
“Pappu Construction workers left the project site long ago. The contractor always gave same excuses like sewage and electric poles digging work for the delay. They resumed work after we threatened to scrap their contract,” said Thapa.
Government agencies are considering fining these contractors if there are more delays.Both the construction companies will have to pay a fine at the rate of 0.5% of their total contract amount per day for next 200 days once their deadline expires, he said.
The length of Dhobikhola Bridge is approx. 51 km and that of Bagmati Bridge is nearly 85m, and each will have a width of 12m including 2m sidewalks on both sides. These two bridges will ease traffic congestion along the 2.6km Maitighar-Tinkune stretch.The contractors face an uphill task to beat their deadlines with monsoons around the corner.