The tractorable Skan bridge in Laos.
Photo: Bindu Khambu


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With a relatively simple improvement of the traditional Nepalese trail bridges, farmers in the Laotian province of Luang Namtha can now manage their fields more efficiently and bring their produce to the market. A South-South co-operation scheme in technology transfer.

Physical access to basic services and economic opportunities is a key to poverty reduction of rural people. However, given the huge investments it incurs, providing road transport facilities is not easy in many rural settlements of under-developed and developing countries. Therefore, a trail-based transport system will continue to play a major role in improving rural accessibility for some years to come. In this regard, trail bridges have been a vital element of the system. A trail bridge is a structure built in hilly cum mountainous areas or the plains across rivers and streams along the foot trail, in order to facilitate the safe crossing of pedestrians and animals with or without loads.

A highly appropriate local technology

Nepal has been the evolving ground for trail bridges since the 1950s. So far, about 7,000 trail bridges have been built in the country. On average, a further 350 trail bridges are added annually to this total.

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