Prime Minister Sushil Koirala opened the newly constructed Koshi Bridge in Chatara in Sunsari District, restoring mass connectivity and economic activities in the eastern development region and directly benefitting the districts of Sunsari, Saptari, and Udaypur.
The bridge was built with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as an alternative to the Koshi Barrage which was badly damaged by the monsoon floods of 2008. The 261.3-meter-long and 7.5-meter-wide bridge was built at a cost of $11 million, as a part of the Emergency Flood Damage Rehabilitation Project.
“The Koshi Bridge serves as an important strategic link in expanding transport connectivity within the country and beyond, including with India and Bangladesh. This reduces future risk from similar flood disasters, and is an application of the concept of build back better,” said Kenichi Yokoyama, ADB’s Country Director for Nepal. “With mutual efforts by the government and ADB, the bridge was completed within the scheduled time of three and half years and the project is now successfully completed by restoring livelihoods and building resilience.”
“As an alternate route, the bridge not only ensures the East-West highway is passable year round, but it also directly benefits the people of Udaypur, Saptari, Khotang, Sunsari and Dhankuta,” said Tulasi Sitaula, Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. “The bridge will also open economic growth opportunities by connecting the two important business hubs of Dharan in the east, and Hetauda in the central region.”
The Emergency Flood Damage Rehabilitation Project was approved by ADB on 21 April 2009 with a grant of $25.6 million. The project has built key infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and irrigation channels, and undertaken landslide stabilization work to avoid similar disasters in the future. Agriculture produce collection centers and marketplaces were also reconstructed.
The project has restored vital lifelines for more than 300,000 people seriously affected by the 2008 floods in Kailali, Kanchanpur, and Sunsari. The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport executed the project and the Department of Roads implemented the bridge subproject.