There’s a bridge, but where’s the road?

Dev Chandra Bhatta

Dev Chandra Bhatta

There’s a bridge, but where’s the road?

Nuwakot villagers question the logic of a bridge that has no motorable road on one of its ends

A motorable bridge linking Nuwakot and Dhading districts remains more or less unused because there is no road link at one of its ends.

The bridge sits astride the Trishuli River that divides the two districts at the village of Keurini. Local residents say the structure was built nearly three years ago but there is no road link on the Nuwakot side. A small beaten path built on private land begins once you cross the bridge and reach its western end.

Authorities concerned including the Department of Roads have paid no attention, says Lawaraj Khatiwada, a local man.  

“Yes the bridge has connected Nuwakot and Dhading,” he says. “But what is the point of a motorable bridge when one end has no way for vehicles to pass?”

The peculiar bridge sticks like a sore thumb and is hard not to miss for anyone traveling through Trishuli-Devghat-Galchhi road. It sits there inviting passers-by’s amusement and laughter. But the local villagers are not amused.

They were hardly consulted when the bridge was constructed. The undertaking took seven years and cost the government more than Rs 150m. 

Local representatives say they learned about this anomaly only last year. But Khatiwada says the villagers had informed the local Road Division Office, on numerous occasions, about the absence of a roadway towards Nuwakot.

“The road office as well as the construction company were informed,” says another local, Madan Kumar Khatiwada. “They did not listen to us.”  

Whether the bridge is a bane or a boon, villagers living close to the bridge do not know. With a proper road, they say, their journey to Kathmandu could be shortened by 22 kilometers.

There are no signs the road will be constructed anytime soon. The road office has not even started the land acquisition process.    

Kedar Prasad Khatiwada, chairman of Galchhi Rural Municipality, says he sympathizes with the concern of Keurini villagers.

Amrit Mani Rimal, chief of Road Division Office, Nuwakot, says he has taken up the issue to the relevant authority after carrying out an on-field inspection of the bridge.

“The road office also expects cooperation from the local villagers,” he says. “Building the road is definitely our priority”

To start the road construction, the government will have to acquire the private land owned by six families. The concerned landowners are willing to give their land to the government, provided they are properly compensated.

But there is a problem here. Rimal says the government has no policy of handing out compensation for land acquisition close to the bridge.

“The concerned landowners should look at the bridge and the road as development,” he says. “They should help in the process.”

The villagers, however, say there will be no quid pro quo. If the road is not constructed, they have threatened to obstruct all movement on the bridge.