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Karnali Bridge Closed After Truck Fire, Damage Assessment Underway

March 12, 2024
Karnali Bridge Fire

The Karnali Bridge, a vital link between Sudurpaschim Province and other regions of Nepal, has been closed following a truck fire on Monday. An expert team from the road department is currently evaluating the extent of the damage to the bridge.

The fire erupted in a westbound truck traveling from Birgunj. The driver abandoned the burning vehicle on the bridge, and the subsequent blaze damaged the structure. Four hours were needed to control the fire, which also destroyed the truck’s cargo of gas lighters.

The Karnali Bridge is a unique single-pillar design supported by cables. The expert team’s primary concern is whether the fire compromised these cables, potentially weakening the bridge’s overall integrity.

Traffic has been halted across the Karnali Bridge while alternative routes are being utilized, including the Sati Bridge in Kailali.

Built by a Japanese company in 1993, the 500-meter Karnali Bridge is an iconic landmark. Its unique design attracts tourists and is crucial for traffic flow. The bridge also played a significant role in the development of the Chisapani market and is a popular destination for fishing, swimming, and rafting.

Updates on the bridge’s status are expected after the expert team submits its preliminary report on Wednesday.

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