The first ever disable-friendly pedestrian walkway in the country, which is being built in Thimphu, is expected to be completed by September end this year.
The six km versatile walkway extends from Lungtenzampa till Babesa roundabout with an intended width of 2 meters. However due to presence of some already existing buildings, walls and other constructions, the width of the path in some areas has been compromised to 1.5 meters.
The footpath is also expected to serve bicyclers.
The pilot project is expected to make it friendly for wheel chairs users, normal commuters and bicyclers. “The main objective is to make the path disable friendly,” said Sonam Namgay, site engineer of the infrastructure division with Thimphu Thromde.
The construction is fully monitored by Thimphu thromde while the funding for the project is from the Government of India.
Construction started in June 2016, with the initial plan to construct only the footpath and drainage within six months.
However, after learning the need to construct the retaining walls along the path, the budget for the project was augmented from Nu 33 million to Nu 64 million and duration extended by another nine months. “The presence of underground cables really led to delay in work since the realignment of the cable needs to be done cautiously after excavation in every area since there are no inventories of cables as such,” said Sonam Namgay.
To solve the problem Thimphu Thromde consulted Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC), Bhutan Telecom and Tashi Cell and Department of Information Technology (DIT) to construct a common cable duct on a cost-sharing basis. “Another factor for the extension of duration is because we are constructing a cost effective rest area in the bus and taxi park and drop points,” he added.
Meanwhile Thromde has initiated plantation of trees along the walkways to provide shade and for beautification. Thromde also plans to replicate such walkways within the town areas after the completion of this project. The plans and budget have already been discussed.