A permanent motorable bridge connecting Okhaldhunga ’s Toksel and Lekhani of Udaypur has finally come into operation from Monday. The completion of the bridge after a 13 year hiatus has been termed as a key milestone towards the development of the eastern hilly region.
Inaugurated the newly-constructed bridge on Monday, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) Bimalendra Nidhi said that the bridge will play a pivotal role in the development of the region, adding that although the project was delayed, it was still a huge leap towards the development of the eastern hilly region and the nation as a whole. More than five hundred people from various walks of life from Okhaldhunga , Udaypur, Khotang, Sindhuli, and Solukhumbu districts were present during the inauguration ceremony.
After coming into operation, the bridge will facilitate direct access from Okhaldhunga and Solukhumbu to Tarai regions including the Capital. However, in case of Khotang, direct access to those areas will be possible only after completion of the under construction bridge over Dudhkoshi river at Jayaramghat. During the ceremony, Minister Nidhi directed Secretary Tulsi Sitaula of MoPIT to ensure the completion of the bridge by mid-June next year.
Expressing joy over the inauguration of the bridge, lawmakers from the aforementioned districts urged Nidhi to take initiatives for construction of roads leading to the bridge including the overall infrastructural development of the region. Stating that the opening of the bridge was an occasion for celebration, lawmaker Yagya Raj Sunuwar said that the residents of the district will not be able to make use of the bridge to its full extent unless bridges over Dadura river at the middle of Sindhuli, Udaypur and Okhaldhunga of the Mid-Hill Highway are constructed. While lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada of Nepali Congress said that collective effort of all the concerned was necessary for the completion of the bridges.
Waiba Bhairab Constructions JV had won the contract for the construction of the bridge connecting Okhaldhunga ’s Toksel and Lekhani at an estimated cost of about Rs 146 million on July 10, 2002. Although the bridge was scheduled to be completed within four years, construction work had been delayed as the ‘water level’ as surveyed by the technicians were flawed. The new design was then passed on Feb 11, 2008.
A steel truss bridge, it spans 170 metres and is five metres wide and has been constructed by joining two spans of 85 metres in length. Exceeding the initial estimate, the bridge was constructed at the cost of about Rs 204.6 million.