Tag Archives: Bridges

REIDsteel Success at British Expertise Awards

By Tim Stiff, Senior Technical Director at Management Services

Components of the DFID-funded Rural Access Programme (RAP) in Nepal have been shortlisted for three major awards from British Expertise in recognition of the programme’s wide-reaching and sustainable impact on the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. Meanwhile, the consulting firm behind the programme’s design and implementation, IMC Worldwide, has itself been nominated in the category of Outstanding International Business (SME) for its work on RAP and other DFID-funded development programmes.

The UK has supported the development and construction of two bridges linking thousands of isolated communities in Eastern Nepal under the successful decade long Rural Access Programme. In July 2008, the GoN approached DFID for funding for the construction of the two bridges.

The overall RAP Bridge Component cost for both bridges and the Technical Assistance Consultancy for the project management and construction supervision by UK Consultant IMC Worldwide is approximately £5.9m (approximate because the of the exchange rate as the construction contract is priced in local currency).

The project involved the construction of two bridges one over the Sabha Khola River near a small town of Tumlingtar and the second over the larger Arun River at Leguwa. The Sabha Khola bridge provides an all-weather crossing of the seasonal river that was previously only fordable by four-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles and pedestrians for approximately six months of the year.

The second bridge over the Arun river is considered the more important bridge as it provides an all season access for 203,000 people, approximately 280 kms of roads built under the various phases of the UK funded Rural Access Programme and enables the local people to be more able in conjunction with other UK funded projects in the district to lift themselves out of poverty and reduce their reliance on aid in both the immediate district and other six other districts directly served by the new crossing.

By comparison the total population in the Khadbari and Kharang districts directly affected, i.e within 5 kilometres of the Sabha Khola bridge site is currently only 3,300people. The bridge is however essential to the District as it provides all weather access to the Arun 3 hydroelectric project site, which means that by aiding infrastructure for the hydroelectric plant Nepal will be better able to address its current capacity shortfall in electric power generation and the District administration headquarters at Khadbari.

The bridge will also enable disaster relief agencies to cross the Sabha Khola River at all times of the year in the event of earthquakes or other disasters in the district.

There are little or no industries in the area apart from shop keeping, tailoring, vegetable farming and other small service business ventures. The main benefits of the bridges will be helping to secure food sufficiency through trade.

The agriculture income is generated from small scale seasonal farming of maize, groundnuts, bananas, mangos, pineapples oranges and rearing and selling of livestock. Locals will also have better access to services, such as health care.

The bridges project is being managed by the Redhill based UK Consultant IMC Worldwide under the broader Rural Access Programme, RAP2, and the consultant was  responsible for the conceptual design and layout and construction supervision of the bridges.

The foundations and abutments of the bridges have been designed to international standards in Nepal.

The two 120m bridges are currently the longest single span steel truss bridges in Nepal and were designed and fabricated in the UK by a well-respected UK firm Reid Steel based in Christchurch Dorset, to withstand earthquakes and flash floods.

It was also the first time that the cantilever launch method for the erection of the steel truss had been used in Nepal and this required detailed consideration of the erection methology to be built into the design. The bridge was cantilevered from both sides of the river with incremental erection of the truss bays facilitated by lifting the individual steel sections of the truss with gantry crane supplied as part of the truss steelwork.

Local residents, especially the more disadvantaged women, were hired where possible, and made a valuable contribution to the project by their involvement in mixing the large volumes of concrete required for the foundations, abutments and deck slab and construction of the gabion retaining walls and river protection works.

The Sabha Khola Bridge near Tumlingtar bridge was opened to traffic on 22nd January 2013 after taking 12 months to construct from start of foundations to the completion of the erection of the main truss and is an example of a successful transfer of technical, skills between the UK Technical Assistance Consultant and the Nepalese Contractors.

The Sabha Khola Bridge was formally inaugurated the Honourable Vidyadhav Mallik Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development and the Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan MP, Secretary of State for International Development on 29thApril 2013. Who is rpeorted to have said he was, “overjoyed that his favourite ‘Iron Lady’ Bridge (Sabha Khola) had received an award”.

The Arun Bridge at Leguwa was opened to traffic in October 2013. The official inauguration of the Arun Bridge took place in January 2014 with by the Nepal Chairman of the Council of Ministers with the and British High Commissioner and DFID Head of Nepal Office also in attendance.

International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said: “These bridges designed and fabricated in Christchurch are a fantastic example of British business and British support making a real difference to some of thousands of very poor people in Eastern Nepal.

“It is a life-line that will allow communities to work and trade, send their children to school, and be better able to access vital services like health care without relying on aid.”

The Sabha Khola and Arun River bridge component has been specifically singled out in the category of Outstanding International Development Project for its role in helping hundreds of thousands of people lift themselves out of poverty and reduce their reliance on aid. The bridges have been described as “a lifeline” by Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan, giving isolated communities in Eastern Nepal access to much-needed goods and services for the first time.


REIDsteel in Nepal

Home to the highest point on earth, Mount Everest and the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, Nepal is an ancient and beautiful country.

Today, its people are looking to the future – The UK is helping by providing aid from the Department for International Development (DFID) and working with IMC Worldwide to support the Nepalese people in gaining reliable infrastructure.

The work is coordinated by Tim Stiff, of ICMW, acting as Team Leader for the Rural Access Programme, RAP2, and reporting back to the British government.

The only way for the country to advance and eliminate rural poverty is to build roads and bridges. Nepal’s total road network and density are low and only 43% of the population has access to all-weather roads.

As part of the Worldbank’s Road Sector Development Project (RSDP), REIDsteel had been asked to design, manufacture and erect three bridges; the Piluwah Khola, Sabu Khola and Arun Khola. In Nepali, ‘Khola’ means stream, which does not quite translate as the smallest of these bridges was 96m long!

The first two bridges were completed earlier this year and we are pleased to announce that the Arun Khola Bridge opened for traffic just a few days ago.

Situated in the Arun valley at Leguwaghat, Dhankuta, the Arun Bridge is a single 120m-span Road Bridge. It is constructed from paraboloid trusses complete with 6m wide carriageway and a 1m raised footpath on one side. The structure was hot dip galvanised for long life and low maintenance.

The average timespan for a bridge to be built in Nepal is five years. Kathmandu-based company, Kalika spent just ten months erecting from beginning to end; or rather, from both ends to the middle.

This speed was partly due to a lot of pre-planning and the provision of equipment designed and manufactured by REIDsteel to allow construction over a fast flowing river with no access into the river bed; and with a steep cliff approach at one end and a flat floodplain the other side.

It was inevitable that there would be difficulty transporting construction materials and tools to the site. To overcome this, REIDsteel’s shipped the bow-string bridge as unassembled metal members and crates of small parts and accessories which fit precisely into 20ft and 40ft containers. These were unloaded then taken in agricultural trailers along the narrow and muddy tracks of Nepal.

The bridge is built on well foundations 16m deep on both sides of the river and is designed to last 100 years, being earthquake and flood resistant. This is achieved by the inclusion of expansion/shrinkage joints at either end to allow thermal and seismic movement, and the central bracket’s web is torsionally flexible and ductile enough to allow the connecting struts to move with the thermal movements of the bridge.

Upon the Arun Bridge’s opening, REIDsteel were delighted to see it busy with vehicles and local people.
It is pleasing to know that our bridge has created new access for people to enact businesses, go to schools, connect with friends and family and be able to make contact with resources leading to better opportunities.
Engineering is the use of materials and techniques to improve the lot of the human race; exemplified by this sort of work.

Designed by Peter Mrozinski and drawn by Kevin Williams.

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.