Japan Government Grant Aid: The Loring bridge on the Sarpang-Tsirang highway, which opened to traffic yesterday, is the 14th bridge in country constructed through Japan government grant aid.
The 70m by six metre simple steel Langer bridge, with a capacity of 40 metric tonnes, is also the sixth and last bridge constructed through the grant aid along the Wangduephodrang-Tsirang highway.
The minister for economic and development at the Japanese embassy in New Delhi, Tamaki Tsukada, who inaugurated the bridge yesterday, said he was impressed by the impact the bridge constructions had brought to Bhutan’s socio economic development.
Tamaki Tsukada said he could now report back to his government and people, from whom the money originates, with great confidence that the money was well spent, and would be more than repaid by the goodwill and development that would ensure in the years to come.
The economic and development minister said, of the six bridges along the Wangduephodrang-Sarpang highway, Lawakha, Basochu, Changchey, Nyarachu, Burichu and Loring, Loring was the longest and most difficult technologically. “The bridges will open new horizons for industries and livelihood in the locality of the erstwhile underdeveloped country, and cater to its growth and development,” Tamaki Tsukada said.
Japan, in the past four decades, had been the leading development partner of Bhutan, especially in the area of agriculture and other infrastructure development.
Tamaka Tsukada said Japan would continue its support. “In doing so, the spirits of late Dasho Nishoka and ideals of GNH would be our inspiration,” he said.
The works and human settlement minister, Yeshey Zimba, said Japan had built many high quality bridges in the country, which benefitted the people and made their life comfortable.
“This bridge would not only cater to commuters plying the primary national highway, but also help in transportation of heavy machinery for mega hydro projects like Punatsangchu I and II,” Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba said.
He also said Bhutanese had learnt a lot from Japanese in terms of technical capacity, which are instrumental in construction of quality bridges.
The officiating director for department of roads, M N Lamichaney, said cooperation between the governments of Japan and Bhutan in the area of bridge construction started in 1997, when the study on the national highway bridge construction was done.
He said, in the first phase of the grant aid project, five bridges were constructed from October 2001 to September 2003. The Nu 571M budget aid constructed Kurizam in Mongar, Chamkharzam in Bumthang, Bjeezam in Trongsa, Mangdezam in Zhemgang and Wacheyzam in Wangduephodrang.
In the second phase, the Japan government constructed three bailey bridges, with permanent Langer arch bridges, from November 2005 to October 2009.
The USD 11.321M was used in constructing the Wakleytar bridge in Tsirang, Tangmachu bridge in Lhuentse and Sunkosh bridge in Dagana.
In the third phase, USD 24M aid constructed six bridges along the Wangduphodrang-Sarpang highway from November 2009.
By Tashi Dema , Gelephu