Trail Bridge in Nepal

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What is Trail Bridge?
For any country to develop and prosper infrastructure is needed. And transport infrastructure is globally recognized as the must for development. Due to the physiological difficulties road transport is only the feasible and viable means of transportation in Nepal. Unfortunately, given the topography of Nepal, construction of road transport network in every part of the country is neither technically feasible nor economical. The only reliable means of transport for the hill and rural population is foot trails. Rivers and streams crisscross foot trails, which are approximately 6000 all around the country and hence, Trail bridges are needed. Trial bridges is a type of bridge, which provides uninterrupted transport access facilities to the people, pedestrian, animals, these bridges are constructed along the foot trails, which provides safe durable and comfortable means of river crossings to the people.

Why Trail Bridge?
Settlements are near the rivers and streams, as from the history of civilization it is known that, civilizations which are along the rivers only flourished. In Nepal, because of its physiology settlements reside along the river side, which are on the hills or mountains of the river bank. And during rainy season the settlement on one side of the river could not get to the other end. In order to do so, people traditionally tried to overcome such constrain. They used tree trunk, wooden logs, bamboo across the river to get to other side, which was too risky and unsafe, as during rainy season the surface of such logs or trunks get slippery and wet. Many lives were lost just because of there were no safe means to cross the river. Nepal has unique topography, construction of road network throughout every nuke and corner of the country is neither economical nor technically viable. Many of the rural population that may be on hills, mountains or terai has to rely on foot trails to travel for their livelihood, and because of the fact that Nepal has over 6000 rivers and streams, those foot trails has to cross the rivers in order to get to their destination. In such foot trails people are forced to cross the rivers risking their life on tuins, wooden planks, etc. To construct heavy bridge are neither economically desirable nor logically feasible. Therefore trail bridges are the only logical means to get along on those foot trails. Trail bridges are safe, technically sound and economical for such routes. And easy to construct, with local materials and local man power with an expert’s supervision, makes it more desirable and popular.

How it was started?
People always travel around for better opportunity, better living, etc. communities living across the river to the market area, people living in other side to the market area has to cross it many times in order to get services. On such important trail, people used plank or bamboo to get the services provided by the market quickly. Thus bridge building has been the tradition of the

Bibek Ghimire

Page 1

people, as river separates every settlement in hilly as well as mountainous area. Planned trail bridges in engineered way were constructed only after 1960 AD. Before 1960 People build the trail bridges applying their indigenous knowledge and used their own technology. They made bamboo bridges, cantilever bridges and even chain bridges in some parts of the country. During Rana regime, they tried to bring modern technology in bridge building, so they brought bridges manufactured in Scotland, which were dispatched as parcel to Nepal, were erected at sites. After 1960 The United States Operation Mission (USOM) was first to Launch trial bridge program. HELVETAS Engineer built pilot bridge. Suspension Bridge Division (SBD) was established in 1964 AD. Government of Nepal and Swiss Association for Technical Assistance (SATA) signed an agreement to work in this field in 1977AD. HELVETAS established Suspension Bridge Program for helping SATA to...
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