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About 80% of the population live in rural areas or small towns with minimal or no nearby access to roads. Trails and mule tracks remain important transport routes. Access to input and output markets and to services get interrupted during monsoon rains as river crossings become dangerous or impossible, thus constraining the livelihood sources of rural people.


The Trail Bridge Sub-Sector Project capitalizes on more than 30 years of experience with bridge building in Nepal. Two types of bridges emerged: the Long Span Trail Bridge (LSTB) and the Short Span Trail Bridge (SSTB). The recent Trail Bridge Strategy delineates which type is to be applied when. The Strategy along with 16 detailed manuals on norms, standards and procedures have enabled the decentralization of trail bridge building to DDCs. This has opened entry to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for supporting bridge building. TBSSP’s role is gradually being transformed from facilitation to monitoring/inspection of the entire sub-sector, ensuring that resources are being effectively invested.


  • Thirty-one Educational Institutes (EIs) (2 universities, 5 colleges and 24 CTEVT-schools) have integrated the aforementioned Strategy / manuals in their curricula.

  • These EIs are training the technical staff of all 75 DDCs (dedicated courses) plus their own regular intake (regular curriculum)

  • DDCs implement LSTB bridges through the private sector (consultants and contractors) and SSTB bridges through NGOs and communities.

  • The Trail Bridge Section of DoLIDAR/MoLD is responsible for enforcement of the Trail Bridge Strategy / manuals and coordinating donor support hence ensuring a coherent sub-sector approach.

  • Approximately 2,200 bridges have been built with the Swiss support until mid July 2006.


  • Approximately 140-180 new trail bridges are constructed every year with project support.

  • Bridges fallen in disrepair undergo “major maintenance”.

  • Bridges built before the development of norms and standards are gradually being rehabilitated.

  • Every SSTB and LSTB bridge provides improved and safe access to an average of about 150 and 400 daily users, respectively; an average of about 3,000 people live in the direct zone of influence of a bridge.

  • Expertise from Nepal on trail bridge building has been provided through training and technical assistance to other countries such as Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique.


Various actors come gradually together under a sector-wide approach:

  • The World Bank and Asian Development Bank provide funds to DDCs which facilitate bridge building.

  • Government of Nepal (GoN) provides block and sector grants to DDC for trail bridges.

  • DDCs delegate LSTB to the private sector and SSTB to NGOs/ communities.

  • EIs provide training to technical staff.

  • NGOs provide training to communities.

  • About 20 indigenous companies fabricate bridge parts.

  • Trail Bridge Section of DoLIDAR/MoLD observes enforcement of Trail Bridge Strategy and coordinates donors.


Annual sector contributions (CHF): about 3,000,000 by SDC and Helvetas/DFID; 1,100,000 by WB (RAIDP) and ADB (DRILP); 1,400,000 by GoN through VDC and DDC; 200,000 by communities.

CONTACT DETAILS                                                                                                                    

Trail Bridge Sub-Sector Project, TBSSP
G.P.O. Box 688, Kathmandu, Nepal
Ph. 01-5521054;
Email:                                                                                         More Info on TBSSP

 Copyright © 2006 Helvetas Nepal.