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Britain’s Steel Experts Build Bridges for Nepal’s Financial Growth

//Britain’s Steel Experts Build Bridges for Nepal’s Financial Growth

Britain’s Steel Experts Build Bridges for Nepal’s Financial Growth

Sabha Kholanews01Slow growth in Nepal’s exports and difficulty moving home-grown agricultural products around the country to reduce dependence on imports are getting a boost from steel bridges that are designed and built in the UK.

Helped by £3 million of funding from the British government, through the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Rural Access Programme (RAP), REIDsteel of Christchurch, Dorset was appointed by local contractor Kalika of Khatmandu to construct a 120m steel span bridge to open up access between Khandbari and Chainpur and boost trade across the Sabha Khola river.

Sabha Kholanews02The bridge links Sankhuwasabha with the national road network and has the potential to transform the lives of 800,000 people – The river runs through the Arun Valley, one of the deepest in the world at 300-435 metres.

Without a bridge the people of the region faced extreme difficulties crossing from one side to the other. During the monsoon season boats would regularly capsize, putting lives and cargo in peril.

Building a bridge in such a remote region is easier said than done. Road access was little more than mud tracks in places and the mountainous terrain meant getting steel girders from the port to the site was a logistical nightmare.

Sabha Kholanews03However, REIDsteel has almost 100 years’ experience of building bridges around the world and the company completed a similar, slightly smaller 96 metre bridge in the region in 2011.

This meant the team was able to design, manufacture, ship and construct the bridge within just one year, far quicker than the contractor had expected.
Rollo Reid, REIDsteel’s technical director says:

The speed of construction was down to the hard work and dedication of the team of local workers. Supervisors sent by us from the UK trained the team and oversaw the work but the hard manual work was done by the Nepalise builders working on the project.

Hard manual labour is exactly what it takes to build bridges in Nepal. When REIDsteel built the Piluwa Kohla bridge, north of Dharan in Nepal, no cranes were available so towers were made using disused electricity transmission steel poles and two aerial ropeways spanning the river were put in place.

Using ropes and hand-power, the sections of the bridge were put into position. Although this work was done during the dry season, the project suffered a set-back when a flood surged down the river, sweeping several of the girders and pole props into the water.

Luckily, once the flood water had abated, the bridge parts could be salvaged and work was able to resume.

Rollo Reid continues:

Sabha Kholanews04The satisfaction of getting through the build stages and seeing the finished bridges is immense.

The structures provide the only bit of straight, flat road for miles around and it’s incredibly rewarding to see the sheer joy on the faces of locals who no longer have to dice with death to cross the valley.

Knowing that something that was designed, crafted and shipped from a small town in England will have a major impact on helping trade flourish in such a remote part of the world makes all of us at Reid’s extremely proud.

By | 2017-01-09T10:09:16+00:00 May 21st, 2013|Tags: , , , , |
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