Thimphu city’s two underused pedestrian underpasses on the Royal Boulevard road is getting a major facelift to encourage pedestrians to use it as a safe crossing rather than an unsafe stinking basement to urinate and defecate.
According to a Thimphu thromde official with the engineering department, the underpasses has been thoroughly cleaned and re-structured to encourage effective use. The underpasses will now have two CCTV cameras monitored by a security person to ensure safety of users.
He said the underpasses had turned into a venue of filth and stench from the decay and stink, which is why it was never been used. The underpasses will now have a public toilet, cafeteria and small shops and a separate way for the disabled.
“Traffic in Thimphu is growing all the time so the number of underpasses would either have to increase or the existing ones should made user friendly,” he said.
Tandin Tshomo, 24, who lives in the pension colony said that crossing the road has become dangerous especially in the mornings and after office hours with vehicles clogged at the junction.
She said that earlier the underpasses was filled with rubbish and human excreta and could not be used. “Now I can happily use it and save time,” she said.
Equally elated Tenzin Dorji, 36, who used the way to go to his work place said he could now use the underpass instead of walking among speeding cars to get to the work. He said that he used underpasses few times before when in a hurry and he had a terrible experience. “I can now make my way home faster during heavy traffic,” she added.
Student Karma Galey, 16, said that he is looking forward to use the underpasses as a safe and clean walking route.
The two underpasses were initiated by the Department of Roads in 2007 with a budget of Nu 3 mn and inaugurated coinciding with centenary celebrations.
However the roads department, after handing over the project to the office of Thimphu Thromde, the road department staff and the Changangkha School together had planned for a better outcome, which never happened.
The underpasses were taken over by the Thimphu Thromde in 2010 and the restoration work of the two underpasses is scheduled to be completed soon.