The government has started the process of designing 400 bridges to be built in the next fiscal year in around five dozen districts. According to the Department of Roads (DoR), 70 percent of bridges are for local roads and rest for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). As the government could not carry out design work in the last and current fiscal years, the number grew significantly this year. Generally, DoR designs 100 bridges a year on an average. As per the DoR plan, the bridges’ feasibility study, detailed engineering survey, soil investigation and complete designs of bridges will be carried out in 40 packages after hiring eligible consultants. Each consultant will preparing designs of 10 bridges. The department on June 5 invited technical and financial proposals from six shortlisted consultants. A DoR official said the increased demand for bridges fuelled by road expansion across the country and political pressure for building bridges too have pushed the number of brides whose designs are to be carried out. However, as per past trends, only a few designs are executed no matter how many designs are done due to the lack of budget. The official said it takes up to 10 years to build a bridge after the completion of design work, while some plans are dumped after government changes. “Many bridges are designed on local roads based on political pressure,” said a high-level official at the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management. “The government is not that financially fit to build bridges only based on demand without analysing importance.” The road department first prepares designs and builds selected bridges based on the availability of resources and their need in particular stretch of the SRN. Tusasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the ministry, said it is not possible start building bridges immediately after completion of design work. “Only the selected bridges are constructed based on the availability of budget,” he said. To build and manage bridges in a new way, the department is preparing to maintain an efficient Bridge Management System (BMS) from the next fiscal year. It will support the government to priorities bridge constrictions in a transparent manner and only the crossing having greater importance will get first priority. Bridges will be built after multi-criteria analysis on traffic volume, socio-economic need and availability of resources, according to the department.