KATHMANDU, Feb 13: A loud bang at 2 am roused the locals of Sinamangal from their deep slumber on March 28, 2009. The locals felt their buildings shake. They did not dare to venture out immediately thinking it was a bomb blast. Nobody even tried to open their windows to look out. Then, at around 4, another blast rocked the area.
The locals discovered later in the morning that the bridge built over the Bagmati River at Bhimsengola had collapsed. The bridge, built in 1966, was estimated to last for 100 years.
But the rampant sand extraction from the river led to the weakening of the bridge´s plinth, causing distortion in the middle. As a result, the 40-meter bridge became useless in less than half of its expected lifespan.
Dharma Lama, 52, a resident of Sinamangal, says that the damage had caused great inconvenience to the locals and others who used the bridge every day to go to other places.
At the time, the construction of the road network that formed Bagmati corridor had already been under way.
Thousands of commuters and motorists faced difficulties as all the vehicles coming from Old Baneshwar, Buttishputali and east of Sinamangal were diverted to the ring-road.
The officials of the Kathmandu Division Office of the Department of Roads visited the site the following day and concluded that the bridge was beyond repair and constructing a new bridge was the only solution.
Again in 2011, a portion of the Bagmati corridor road near the site, where a new bridge linking Sinamangal with Tilganga was being constructed, collapsed.
The officials at the DoR Kathmandu division say that heavy water flow in the Bagmati swept away the road even as the construction of a foundation for the new bridge.
The heavy water flow during the bridge construction weakened the road´s foundation and led to its collapse.
|The damage disrupted traffic along 1.5 km road between Old Baneshwar and Tilganga.
Pedestrian´s movement, too, was restricted fearing possible rupture as the land over which the road was built developed multiple cracks. The road was repaired and brought into operation in a week.
Though the Bagmati corridor is in operation at present, the traffic flow along Sinamangal, Gaushala and Old Baneshwar routes get affected when the temporary diversion at Bhimsengola becomes vulnerable during the rainy season as the water level rises in the river.
Though the DoR earlier estimated that the new bridge would come into operation by the end of 2011, completing the work still remains a challenge, officials say.
We are committed to complete the project soon, says Engineer Dipendra Pandey, in charge of the construction project. The DoR is spending Rs 77 million for the reinforced cement concrete bridges.
´Sand mining has posed long term threat for Sinamangal Bridge and locals´
The construction has not been easy the second time as well. What went wrong?
Before constructing the second bridge, the soil investigation should have been done in more detail. The then official designed the bridge on the basis of the soil survey at Gairidhara, which later proved to be a blunder. The soil is less qualitative to absorb water. As a result, the flood in the river swept away the pillars of the under-construction bridge.
Is the new bridge safe now?
Why does the government take no action against the illegal sand extractors?
Do other bridges in the capital face similar problem?
Sinamangal Bridge Fact file
|Source: Republica Daily|
Published on 2013-02-13 07:00:38