Connectivity to North Sikkim restored fully, Bailey bridge inaugurated in Chungthang
First Published: 16th November, 2023 11:25 IST
The washing away of the only permanent bridge at Chungthang had severed connectivity with both Lachen and Lachung valleys.
After over 45 days of North Sikkim being cut off from the rest of Sikkim and the country because of a glacial lake burst washing away roads and bridges and snapping connectivity in the region, connectivity was restored this morning after the Bailey bridge constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Chungthang was inaugurated this morning.
The opening of the bridge has restored vital connectivity between Mangan and Chungthang.
But it has been the BRO which has played the key role to make this happen as it could successfully overcome the daunting task of constructing the abutments (a structure built to support the lateral pressure of an arch or span, at the ends of a bridge) in difficult terrain.
It was indeed very challenging since abutment works involved manual construction of massive concrete structures on the steep cliffs flanking both sides of the Teesta. But braving all adversitives the BRO could accomplish the construction in less than 3 weeks since works began on October 12 and completed on October 30.
The bridge serves as a crucial lifeline, reinstating road connectivity and offering essential relief to the local residents coping with repercussions of the flash floods.
Sikkim PWD Minister Samdup Lepcha, Sonam Tashi, ADM Mangan, BRO, Army and District Administration officials were present during the inauguration of the bridge.
On October 4, Sikkim experienced an unprecedented situation following a deluge created by the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) in the South Lhonak Lake. Gushing waters of the swelling Teesta river caused immense devastation in the downstream areas along its banks and had swept away six essential bridges in North Sikkim, including the critical Chungthang bridge thus severing lines of communication to Lachen and Lachung valley.
To restore connectivity to North Sikkim, in phase one, BRO undertook challenging task of construction of massive amount of river training work. Post completion of essential river training works, BRO in coordination with Army launched two bailey bridges at Sanklang. Thus, restoring connectivity between Mangan and Dzongu region. These Bridges were opened for civil traffic from October 27 onwards.
As part of phase two of restoration efforts, BRO shifted its focus towards Chungthang town, which suffered extensive devastation during flash floods including washing away of only permanent bridge at Chungthang thus severing connectivity of both Lachen and Lachung valleys.