According to Thrimshing gup Phento Tshering the bridge, popularly known among the locals as Pang zam, connected the villages to the dungkhag and gewog centres and also to the road in Phekpari, which joins the national highway. "The stretch is more like our main thoroughfare," he said.
The difficulties compelled the villagers to take a route via Khelam to reach the Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar highway. "That took us about a day walking uphill while the journey to Phekpari took not more than three hours," he said.
The gup said that the new bridge would benefit about 250 households in the six villages with a population of more than 2,000 people.
According to the bridge supervisor, construction of the new bridge had begun in the same year the old bridge was washed away, but was delayed because of labour shortages. "We also could not receive materials on time," he said.
Funded jointly by DANIDA and the government, and labour support from the community, the bridge was constructed at a cost of about Nu. 2.43 million.
Pedestrian trail bridges, mule tracks and foot trails are the main forms of transport and communication in most parts of rural Bhutan. Trail bridges over the country's deep river valleys can cut walking distance by several hours or sometimes even by more than a day. Therefore, the Government has placed high priority for the construction and improvement of trail suspension bridges and mule tracks in the rural areas since the Fourth Plan.
The construction of suspension bridge is supported by the Swiss Government through SDC/Helvetas. Swiss involvement started from 1985. Currently Suspension Bridge Program is in its sixth phase which started from July 2007 and will end in December 2010.
2008 there was a total of 390 existing bridges out of 454 constructed so far including 2 constructed with fund from the Swiss community and a 32 m span Bazam (traditional wooden cantilever bridge) over Wangchu at Changjiji. However, the 3 bridges are not included. The Bazam was constructed to mark the occasion of the Centenary Celebrations and it benefits the general public residing in either side of Wangchhu.it also benefits the students of Chang Bangdo Primary School to use the playing field situated on the other side of the river besides also allowing the city to enjoy the football matches held across the river.
In order to facilitate rural access and interconnectivity, the construction of new and improvement of existing mule tracks is supported by providing funds to the Dzongkhags for tools, plants and construction materials like explosives, etc. The implementation is being done by the Dzongkhags with community participation in terms of unskilled labor.