In the northern part of Sikkim, a two-lane steel structure said to be the country’s only arch-bridge, is scheduled for completion by March 2021. The bridge boasts the longest span of 217 metres between its two piers. According to an official quoted in a PTI report, it is expected that the bridge over the river Kanaka at Kayam Dzongu, will give a boost to the inflow of tourists to north Sikkim as well as facilitate the movement of Indian Army personnel to border areas. The bridge, located around 160-km off Siliguri in the state of West Bengal, is being constructed at a cost of Rs 88.5 crore. It is being said that the bridge will be a boon for around 13 villages situated in upper Dzongu which since August 2016, have been cut off after a massive landslide choked the river Kanaka resulting in a lake formation.
Since the time of the landslide, the villages that were affected lack proper road connectivity with people using temporary bridges and rafting boats to cross the stretch. During winter, people use vehicles over a small bailey bridge as the water level of the lake recedes. Krishna Lal Agarwal, Chairman and Managing Director of Mohindra Tubes was quoted in the report saying that the company is hopeful to complete this bridge by March 2021, if the novel coronavirus pandemic does not aggravate.
In north Sikkim, Mantam lake is a major tourist attraction, but due to lack of a permanent bridge, one cannot go to the eastern side of the water body. According to Siliguri-based Agarwal, there had been some issues with the process of land acquisition. However, those issues have been resolved. The bridge project is being developed at a cost of Rs 88.5 crore. The steel bridge, 255-metres-long, will have a loading strength of 70R, which means heavy vehicles can ply over it. Once the structure is complete, connectivity will improve.