20 new bridges built in KP, 26 more in pipeline
Thursday, June 07, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Twenty new steel bridges are now being used by thousands of people every day in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) due to successful partnership between the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the government of KP.
The new bridges, which vary in length up to 200 feet, replace those destroyed either by the conflict in 2009 or the devastating floods in 2010. More than 1,500 pedestrians use each new bridge every day – half of them children going to school, revealed a press release issued here on Wednesday.
Without bridges, many parts of KP have been cut off. In one village in Swat, three people drowned while trying to cross a river. Men and women could not get to work. Children could not go to school. Pregnant women couldn’t reach the hospital. Groceries and food became scarcer, increasing their price. The new bridges mean people can get back to work, schools, and access markets and healthcare, which is helping to address grievances and bring back stability to the province.
Head of DFID-Pakistan George Turkington said, “The damage and disruption to KP’s infrastructure over the last few years has been immense. These new bridges reopen vital transport links, bringing stability and normality to the region; people now use them everyday to get to work, school, markets and hospitals. The UK will continue to work closely in partnership with the government of KP to build a total of 46 new bridges, which once completed will benefit some 50,000 people every day.”
The UK provided steel bridge kits and technical support through its engineering partners Mott McDonalds and Halcrow, while the KP government through its Communications and Works Department (C&W) provided funds and executed the civil works including building abutments, link roads, and support structures.
KP Chief Minister Amer Haider Khan Hoti said, “We are working hard to reconstruct KP after the huge damage done to our infrastructure by terrorism and the devastating floods. Bridges keep the arteries of our province flowing, and are essential to our prosperity and well-being. This warm partnership with the UK is an excellent example of how we can work side-by-side to develop our province. We will continue to collaborate with the UK, not only on bridges, but also on education, maternal health, governance, and other vital matters.”
The new bridges are top quality steel bailey-type bridges, designed to withstand large-scale floods, and whose quality should not deteriorate for at least 50 years. A total of 46 new bridges, supplied by the UK, will be installed across Malakand division by the end of this year. The project is being co-funded by the UK government (16 million pounds) and the KP government (9 million pounds).
Last summer the British High Commissioner Adam Thomson and DFID-Pakistan head visited one of the newly installed bridges in the Swat valley. This was one of the bridges shipped urgently to Pakistan from the UK, to replace bridges destroyed by the floods, which tore through KP in 2010.
In addition to the collaboration on bridge construction, the UK is working in partnership with the KP government to help get millions more children into school and learning more; prevent women from dying in childbirth; and to provide technical assistance to support reforms at the core of government, which will improve the delivery and sustainability of essential services to the public. This all helps to promote peace and stability by tackling the root causes of grievances which can lead to conflict, such as poverty, inequality, and lack of education. staff report