For those using the Thimphu-Babesa Expressway the past few weeks have been a frustrating and at times even dangerous activity with Thimphu Thromde staff digging up the divider.
The resultant mud and stones not only narrowed the road but also slowed down traffic and at times posed a danger in the form of large rocks left in the middle of the road.
However, commuters had to bear another digging up and repair work in the expressway as the Thimphu Thromde in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) planted 40,000 hedge plants as road dividers along 6.2 kilometers of Thimphu-Babesa Expressway on July 24.
The digging in the past few weeks had been to prepare for the planting of the special hedge plants.
Executive Secretary, Thimphu District Municipality (TDM), Minjur Dorji, said the soil along the expressway divider was dug out and replaced with richer soil to plant the hedge plant dividers.
Chief Environment Officer, TDM, Tshering Penjor, said that the initial metal fence dividers were removed due to the public demand. He said that the metal fencing was used to protect the flowers and to minimize the risk of people crossing the road at any point.
The soil preparation work was carried out by TDM and MoAF agreed to supply about 40,000 to 50,000 hedge saplings to be planted along the divider area of the expressway. Around 600 volunteers from MoAF helped to plant the hedge saplings.
He said it will be a challenge to oversee and care for the plants that are planted along the expressway. He said the stray cattle must be controlled and kept away from the plants. TDM is also concerned about the pedestrians as many do not use the zebra crossings and instead cross the road from any point and trample the plants.
“If pedestrian use the zebra crossings to cross the road then the plants can be protected. Even if we plant the hedges along the expressway divider, TDM will not fence again as fencing is very costly,” he said.
Meanwhile, TDM is issuing awareness notice to the people through media outlets, like the control of stray cattle. Also, TDM has reports of people stealing the planted trees and flowers overnight along the expressway in the past.
He said that the advantage of planting the hedges is that the city will look green and clean. He said that TDM is working hard to beautify the city and requires the support from the public as well.
The plantation of hedges along the Thimphu-Babesa Expressway is expected to cost about Nu 2.5mn.
Meanwhile the Thimphu Thromde also tried to replace the yellow and black divider stones with more solid cement but it soon gave up on the plan as it ran out of budget.