WireBridges Revisited: Building on Experience
by David Sowerwine
If you follow the tale of Nepal's politics, you know that after many years all parties to the long conflict are now part of the government. For our bridge-building colleagues in Village Solutions, the startup founded by our former EcoSystems manager, this means that now they can safely send a crew to each WireBridge for routine maintenance. This was not possible for a long time.
It costs between $18,000 and $26,000 to build a WireBridge today, roughly the price of a very inexpensive auto. To maintain a WireBridge we estimate is probably less than that for a car--perhaps around $600 per year. Most of this expense is to replace the tow rope, and periodically to replace the only moving parts: the metal wheels and bearings. A team of volunteer engineers is presently reviewing the design of this "trolley" with the goal of substantially extending the running life, and thus reducing the maintenance cost.
The thirty-two existing WireBridges will be put on a routine maintenance program. These provide the missing link to school for hundreds of children -- a very effective way to provide reliable access to school, and key infrastructure for the economic and social life of these communities.
Our thanks to every donor who has helped these thousands of people to reach their goals.