Cost-effective and climate-resilient bridge construction in Nepal

Key Contact
Oceane Keou
Start Date
End Date
Funding Amount
$ 25,000
Knowledge-providing Countries
Knowledge-receiving Countries


The development goal of this knowledge exchange was to improve the bridge construction and maintenance practices in Nepal across the following themes:

  • Construction quality
  • Technology applied
  • Climate resilience


A knowledge exchange with Bangladesh took place from September 23 to October 1st, 2018 and was funded by the South-South Facility. The main objectives of the exchange were to (i) gain technical knowledge on advanced technologies for bridge construction, (ii) learn from the experiences and practices of Bangladesh government officials and private sector stakeholders involved in advanced bridge construction, and (iii) share the Nepalese experience regarding bridge assessment with Bangladesh counterparts responsible for the implementation of a World Bank bridge program for results – P4R. The core part of the knowledge exchange visit was a technical workshop that focused on the design and modelling of network arch bridges. The new technical knowledge gained by the Nepalese delegation was of immediate use and application during the implementation of the Bridge Improvement and Maintenance Program (BIMP II), a World Bank-funded project approved in September 2018.



The Nepal transport sector had experience implementing the first Bridge Improvement and Maintenance Program (BIMP I) with support from the World Bank using the ‘program for results – P4R" lending instrument. The project had achieved its physical and institutional strengthening targets including the maintenance, rehabilitation, the construction of new bridges.

Under BIMP II, network arch bridges will be introduced in Nepal. The challenge was that the project implementation team did not have any experience designing network arch bridges. It was therefore imperative for the team to gain new knowledge and technical skills to design this type of bridge using advanced and innovative technologies that are better able to withstand disaster risks including weather and climate-related shocks such as earthquakes and floods.



Nepal and Bangladesh had common areas of interest, which guided the design of the knowledge exchange in a reciprocal manner ensuring each country provided and received knowledge.

Bangladesh has extensive knowledge and experience in the design and construction of long span bridges including network arch bridges. Bangladesh also has experience providing on-the-job training and certification programs to professionals in the transport and construction sectors.

Nepal has experience implementing the first infrastructure program in the transport sector using the Program-for-Results (P4R) lending instrument. Officials from the Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) were very interested in benefitting from Nepal’s experience as LGED was about to launch a similar program using P4R. Moreover, the Bangladesh transport sector government officials were hoping to learn from Nepal’s experience of how to develop a bridge management system.

The knowledge exchange was designed in close collaboration with the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in Dhaka. The exchange consisted of technical sessions, peer-to-peer learning sessions and site visits. It was conducted following a participant-centered learning approach, allowing for active engagement and participation throughout the sessions and site visits. The knowledge exchange mobilized a wide range of resource persons including high profile professionals of BUET, LGED, Bangladesh Road and Highways Department (RHD) and Certified National Trainers on Procurement.

The knowledge exchange was structured around four main elements:

Technical sessions during which the following subjects were covered:

  • Analysis, results and design
  • Load combination
  • Application of load, pre-stress
  • Modelling in SAP 2000
  • Geometry of network arch bridge
  • The evolution and fundamentals of network arch bridges design and construction


Knowledge sharing / peer learning sessions during discussions and meetings with representatives of the Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry (BACI) and the Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). Topics covered included:

  • Manual and resources used by Bangladesh LGED for designing medium and large size bridges
  • Progress and feedback on the development of a bridge management system
  • Roles and institutional responsibilities of the Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department and the Road and Highways Department
  • Training and supervision of field engineers
  • Good bidding practices
  • What constitutes quality bridge construction especially for high value contracts


Site visits

The site visits were carefully selected to complement the technical sessions. Technical and observation questionnaires were prepared and distributed to all participants to complete at each site. The purpose of the questionnaires was to (i) apply the knowledge acquired during the technical sessions, (ii) learn about the technical characteristics of each bridge specifically, and (iii) help participants better understand how bridges should integrate with their urban and rural environments.

The following network arch bridges (NWAB) sites were visited:

  • Dhanmondi bridge which is a tied NWAB – pedestrian with steel arches, stand hanger with thin individual concrete slab decking resting on tie beams
  • Sanssad Bhaban a NAB – Pedestrian with glass flooring
  • Rayerbazar Graveyard – the first NAB constructed in Bangladesh
  • Jamuna Bridge – currently the 6th longest bridge in South Asia. The main bridge is 4.63km long and is a multi-purpose bridge designed to carry a dual two-lane carriageway, a dual gauge railway, a high voltage electrical interconnector, telecommunication cables and a 750mm diameter high pressure natural gas pipeline.


Feasibility study

A separate feasibility study was carried out by the World Bank Transport task team. The objective of the study was to explore and propose options to help strengthen the technical capacity and certification for the construction industry in Nepal. Options proposed included the establishment of twinning arrangement with reputable and financially stable entities in the bridge construction sector within the region or beyond where internationally recognized good practices have been identified. The study was expected to make recommendations on planning, design and implementation of skill enhancement programs for staff of contractors. The skill enhancement programs would include advanced techniques for bridge construction, rehabilitation, maintenance and climate resilience. The program itself would be implemented at a later stage based on the recommendations.


Lessons Learned

The knowledge exchange was initially scheduled to take place in September 2017. Due to several factors, this did not happen, and plans were actually delayed for almost a year and required an extension on the trust fund closing date. What had become a source of frustration turned out to be a golden opportunity. The exchange ended up taking place at a critical time when the BIMP II project had just been approved by the World Bank Board. This timing was perfect because the key stakeholders and government officials responsible for the project implementation were in place and available to benefit from the technical capacity strengthening.

The initial sequencing of activities had to change to support the sense of urgency expressed by the Nepalese delegation for an in-depth technical training session on network arch bridges design and construction. Adjustments were made to have a comprehensive technical workshop take place first. This would be followed by site visits to network arch bridges to provide practical examples. These changes ensured that client needs were respected and prioritized. Technical capacity strengthening, and skill building became the central focus of the knowledge exchange.

Since priorities and plans can change significantly, it is important to ensure that you have a knowledge provider with the capacity, flexibility and expertise to still deliver with excellence. The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) exceeded the expectations of the Nepalese delegation and the World Bank team. They designed and facilitated a highly professional and impressive hands-on technical training. The level of interest and engagement was to the degree that not a single participant missed any part of the training, in fact they requested for an extra technical session.


Beneficiaries / Participants

The Nepalese delegation comprised of high-level officials and engineers who will be responsible for the implementation of BIMP II and able to immediately apply the new skills and knowledge gained. Below is the list of participants:

- Senior Divisional Engineer, BIMP-II Program Coordinator, Bridge Branch Department of Roads (DOR)

- Senior Divisional Engineer, Bridge Branch, DOR

- Senior Divisional Engineer, Bridge Branch, DOR

- Engineer, Bridge Branch, DOR

- Engineer, Bridge Branch, DOR

- Engineer, Bridge Branch, DOR

- Engineer, Bridge Branch, DOR

- Structure Engineer, Bridge Branch, DOR

- Individual Consultant, Bridge Engineer

- Director, ANK Construction Co. Pvt Ltd


World Bank Contribution

The knowledge exchange and the feasibility study were funded by the World Bank South-South Facility. World Bank teams from the Infrastructure Global Practice, the Governance Global Practice and the Development Economics (DEC) Vice Presidency Unit collaborated on the design, the planning and the implementation of the various aspects of the knowledge exchange.


Moving forward

Delegations from both Nepal and Bangladesh expressed their interest and willingness to pursue more collaboration in the future.

The feasibility study conducted by the task team produced the following recommendations:

  • Three options were proposed for setting up a certification program in Nepal:
    • (i) Setting up a Roads Training Institute in Nepal;
    • (ii) Partnering with a capable technical institute in Nepal
    • (iii) Nepalese Construction Association (FCAN) setting up its own training institute
  • Listed approaches to establishing formal twinning arrangements with the Bangladesh Association of Construction (BACI) and the Master Builders Association (MBAM) in Malaysia
  • A curriculum for training in advanced bridge design and construction. Topics could include bridge design for climatic resilience, design of steel bridges, how to carryout economic evaluations of bridges, structural materials used to enhance resilience and laboratory testing of materials used in bridge construction

Discussions are ongoing on how best to actualize the recommendations of the feasibility study within the context of the BIMP II implementation.



The knowledge and technical skills shared by Bangladesh were of tremendous value for the Nepalese delegation especially considering the similarities between the two countries regarding governance, economy, climate, geographical, and topographical factors.

New knowledge

Members of the Nepalese delegation gained knowledge and enhanced their skills in the following technical aspects:

  • Structural requirements for network arch bridges (NWABs)
  • Benefits and resilience of network arch bridges
  • Risks and causes of network arch bridges failure
  • Good practices on bridge loading and construction
  • How to use advance technologies to implement bridge projects
  • Practical experience using SAP 2000 software to design model network arch bridges in the context of Nepal’s geotechnical conditions and specifics
  • The application of steel pipe sheet pile (SPSP) foundations
  • Good practices for quality bidding, bridge selection and construction
  • Procurement and tender management guidelines

The Bangladesh team also learned from Nepal. New knowledge was gained on:

  • Nepal’s experience in bridge asset management using a bridge management system
  • Guidelines and good practices from Nepal implementing a World Bank P4R bridge project

All participants shared positive feedback and mentioned that the BUET professors had done an excellent job of articulating the fundamentals of network arch bridges. The professors noted and appreciated the vibrant and active participation of the entire Nepalese delegation during the technical sessions and the site visits.



  • The Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
  • Bangladesh Association of Construction (BACI)
  • Bangladesh Local Government Engineering Department (LGED)
  • Bangladesh Roads and Highways Department (RHD)


Learn More

In this short video, Oceane Keou, Transport Specialist at the World Bank, talks about her experience implementing this knowledge exchange with Nepal and Bangladesh.