A massive landslide triggered by heavy rainfall closed down the road just before reaching Bhalujhora Bridge at the tri junction that connects Pasakha, Phuentsholing and the bypass road.
A small crack was detected between two top tracks (roads) at the starting point of Balujhora bridge. An assessment of the bridge showed that it was not a serious crack to threaten the structure.
Chief Engineer of Department of Road (DoR), Phuentsholing, Dorji Wangdi, said that heavy rainfall often leads to closure of road to Bhalujhora area. He said it also affects the cement work on the Bhalujhora bridge construction, sponsored by ADB project.
He said, “Keeping in mind the risks, along with all the stakeholders, we have investigated and found no associated risk.”
In addition, he said that one of the many intermediate pillars had collapsed with joints separating and it caused an impact on the settlement of the track. The bridge maintenance work was carried out on the same day.
There is no severity on the bridge, the chief engineer said, adding that, the severity is with the landslide whereby it depends upon the frequency of the slide. “In that particular area, there are repeated slides which are an issue. However, regional office has deployed two machines round the clock at the slide area,” he added.
He also said that it is not only the project or regional office people but also the traffic police of Pasakha working at the site 24/7 for the safety of the people. Similarly, he said the Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI) also does their part in clearing up the road.
However, he said that time is required to clear the block and road closure depends on the magnitude of the slide between one to sometime 4 hours.
In addition, he said that there is same issue at Bhavanijhora. When there is a fresh flood, he said that they cannot deploy machines to clear the block immediately due the incessant rainfall.
He said that flash floods are a danger in the work area. The heavy vehicles ply through the river beds as the bridge is under construction.
Meanwhile, project manager of SASEC project, Sonam Tobgay said that although the monsoon season did not affect the construction of the Bhalujhora bridge, however, time extension was taken to complete the bridge.
An ABI official said that the registered industrial members in Pasakha complain of roadblock whenever there is heavy rainfall, mainly in Bhalujhora side. He said that the DoR and traffic police are supportive and help to deploy machines and men at site to clear the road block.
Nevertheless, he said that when DoR fails to deploy machines then they have to hire machines to clear the road block with the money collected from the 34 registered members of ABI. “Sometime we can get machine easily while sometime it is hard to get, which is why the road remains blocked for quite long,” he added.