Road widening works in different parts of the country is also one reason for roadblocks during the monsoon season according to officials of the department of roads (DoR).
For example, certain critical locations with frequent and major roadblocks are Rewtala, Box-cutting and Khawachen where widening and stabilsing work has been ongoing.
Executive Engineer Dorji Tshering of DoR, MoWHS said major roadblocks/landslides takes place in the areas where there is widening work where the quality of soil gets poor and loose because of digging. “This is more challenging because depending upon the quality of soil, it will take 5 to 15 years to reach back to its normal position in order to make the area stable as before,” he said.
During the road widening between Thimphu and Wangdue, he said that received numerous complaints from commuters and some from tourism industry, but now the condition of the road is so good that they can travel quickly with lower risk.
Dorji Tshering said they have formed a monitoring team to travel the highways and monitor the road conditions.
They have also deployed machines and labor to immediately clear blocks clear and as far as possible. “This year, the road conditions between Thimphu to Trashigang and to Bumthang was very poor,” he said. “Between Thimphu and Bumthang there are 50 contractors working on highways for road widening and maintenance and their machines clear the blocks.”
An engineer at a block site, Sanman Tamang, on the yet to open Gyelposhing- Nganglam highway said a major block that occurred in July 11 might delay completion of construction. “Since we are doing under-cutting work, even with light rainfall the slide takes place,” he said. “We are expecting to complete construction of 75.46 KM road by February next year.”
Chief Engineer of Trongsa- Zhemgang highway, Tougay Choedup, said major blocks occur at Rewtala every year. Dzongkhalum, 10 KM from Trongsa, was also quite dangerous.
Meanwhile, an official from Department of Metrology, MoEA said that comparing the data of the total accumulated amount of rainfall from 1996 monsoon this year is above normal. Between 1 June to 23 August 2017, the department recorded highest rainfall in Phuentsholing at 285.4 mm and minimum in Bumthang and Dagana with only 4.8 mm. The highest temperature was recorded in Lhuntse with 36.5 degree Celsius on 24 June and minimum of 6.5 degree Celsius in Haa on 1 June.
Bhutan will receive an above normal (heavy) rainfall in the first week of September while below normal in second and third week of September.