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WireBridges over Dangerous Rivers

The Challenge

The terrain of Nepal, mountainous and crossed by deep river canyons, isolates villages and makes access to the rest of the country difficult and dangerous. In the monsoon, mid-June to mid-September, crossing the swollen rivers without a bridge ranges from dangerous to impossible.


The Solution

Until government and donor-funded suspended bridges became widely available, WireBridges solved this problem by spanning river gorges with a human powered carriage system. These wheeled carriages traveled on wire strung between anchor towers installed on each side of a river. The carriage was easily propelled by rope in the hands of passengers or bystanders. Each carriage held two seated passengers--or many more hanger-ons.


WireBridges set new construction, performance, safety and affordability standards. Most parts were locally fabricated. The heaviest individual part was about 110 KG. The total weight of all parts was less than a ton. Thus a bridge was transported easily and constructed rapidly. The carriage was operated by villagers of all ages.


38 WireBridges were designed and installed in Nepal from 1998 to 2006, which moved over 3 million passengers without injury. This system linked villagers for education, medical care and commerce.


WireBridges are a completed, legacy project of EcoSystems Nepal, LE's predecessor.



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