GANGTOK: In a remarkable collaborative effort between the Indian Army and the Border Roads Organization (BRO), a transformative achievement has been realized with the completion of a 200-foot Bailey bridge over the Teesta River at Chungthang. This engineering marvel stands as the longest and heaviest single-span Bailey bridge ever constructed, representing a beacon of hope for the flood-affected regions of north Sikkim.
The devastating events leading to this construction unfolded on the night of October 3-4 when a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake triggered a flash flood in the Teesta River. The aftermath was catastrophic, submerging villages, destroying homes and bridges, and claiming the lives of 179 people, including Indian Army personnel. Tragically, many of the bodies could not be recovered, compounding the anguish of the affected communities.
Over 60,000 people faced the brunt of the disaster, losing not only their homes but also their livelihoods and belongings. The floods wreaked havoc on infrastructure, causing extensive damage to roads, bridges, and power lines, disrupting communication and transportation networks.
The completion of the Bailey bridge is a pivotal milestone, reconnecting the isolated and ravaged areas of north Sikkim with the mainland. The bridge's significance lies not only in its impressive dimensions but also in its capacity to facilitate the seamless movement of vehicles, ensuring the timely delivery of relief materials to the regions that have been cut off for over a month.
The collaborative endeavor unfolded in two phases: the Border Roads Organization initiated the construction of concrete abutments, laying the foundation for the bridge. Subsequently, the Trishakti Sappers of the Indian Army took charge of the bridge construction, accomplishing the entire process in an astonishingly brief five days. The inauguration ceremony, attended by Sikkim's Minister of Roads and Bridges Samdup Lepcha, witnessed the presence of officials from the Indian Army, BRO, and civil administration, commemorating the restoration of a lifeline for the affected populace.
The bridging operation showcased the commendable efforts of the Engineer Troops from the Trishakti Corps and the BRO, leveraging heavy Earth Moving plants for efficient and rapid construction. As a result, the Bailey bridge stands not just as a testament to engineering prowess but as a symbol of resilience and collaborative spirit in the face of adversity.