Thimphu Thromde unable to complete construction of four-lane highway project on time due to the pandemic

Thromde to form a separate team for potholes

The four-lane road project spanning from the road near the Bhutan Telecom Limited head office till Jungshina Bridge was to be completed by the end of May 2021 as per Thromde plans. However, the project could not be completed on the expected time.

According to Thimphu Thrompon, Ugyen Dorji, the four-lane construction project was to be completed by May of this year, but it didn’t happen, mainly because of the two lockdowns, which prevented them from working. The monsoon season is now impedeing the work as nothing much can be done when it rains heavily.

He said that nonetheless, that stretch is critical for all commuters because once it is blocked, it is difficult to get around on the other side of the road, which is why the Thromde is concerned.

“We have called a few contractors to take on the job, but they are not willing, at the moment, due to a variety of issues, including a lack of machines. However, we are urging them to take on the work, and if they have the machines, they may begin the project right away. We’re negotiating with them right now,” he said.

The Nu 150 million four-lane project is slated to be complete by September or October this year.

“People should not expect black topping (of the four-lane road) in two to three months, because blacktopping is not suitable during the rainy season, and if we do so, it will be ruined in a few months. So, black topping will happen during the dry season. But before that, we need to finish building footpaths and drainage, which we will do very soon. We’ll lay the granular sub-base (GSB) and wet mixed macadam (WMM) so that people can at least ply over it without being obstructed,” he said, adding that because of the situation in and around the countries, the Hume pipes for drains and HDP pipes for cable laying that Thromde ordered six months ago from abroad have yet to be delivered.

Thromde is determined to create the expensive RCC drain even without the hume pipes.

“We don’t have a choice. We’ll proceed with another option regardless of cost or other concerns. The only goal is to finish it quickly and make it accessible to the general population,” he said.

He said that inside the city, there is need of proper pliable road, which means the potholes need to be taken care of, and for that Thromde is planning to have a separate team and equipment so that they can immediately address the issue.

“We’re going to do it ourselves and see what we can come up with, and a large surface will have to be put up for bid. Especially the small patches and potholes everywhere, we’re attempting to form our own team to address them as soon as possible so that no one complains to us,” he said.

As per the Thrompon, traffic congestion is one of the most significant challenges that everyone faces in Thimphu today, with the main reason being the increased number of cars already presents. He said in the future, the traffic congestion can be eased with flyover bridges or underground motor passages. But during his term, he wants to focus on enhancing public transportation to ease the congestion.

He said, “We will place a greater emphasis on public transportation and increase the number of buses available. Around 27 buses are expected to arrive in the country in the next two to three months, and the process is underway.”

He added that the objective is to have a ten-minute pause for every bus, which is a significant step forward.

“In addition, the pedestrian bridge in Olakha might be completed in two months. Because of the pandemic, all of the projects are being delayed,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Thrompon said that it is impossible to widen and build a new road, in general, because Thimphu is already developed. But the only new thing that the Thromde is focusing on is to connect the road from Druk School to Depsi.

He said that the Thromde has a plan, but the only problem is that almost 1.2 kilometers have been completed without a proper blacking topping.

“However, I believe that a stakeholder meeting is required to connect the road to the Depsi because the land is owned by the dzongkhag. We’ll hold a consultation meeting once we’ve finalized the plan, and I believe the dzongkhag wanted to link to the other side of the road as well,’ he said.

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