Phurpa Lhamo  | Punakha

Work to resurface around 4km stretch along the Punakha-Gasa highway will begin this year.

The stretch is part of the 7km road at Wokona, which has been in bad condition for years.

According to Chief Engineer with DoR’s regional office in Lobesa, Karma Tenzin, the department received Nu 10 million (M) in this fiscal year to resurface the road.

The department received the budget after it put up the proposal for last two years for rehabilitation of the 3km stretch and resurfacing of the 4km stretch.

Karma Tenzin said that the remaining 3km stretch, which the department had planned to be rehabilitated wouldn’t be possible as the budget wasn’t approved.

“Budget to rehabilitate the 3km stretch would be more. If we take the Nu 10M budget and do the rehabilitation work, we would only be able to do around 1km,” he said.

A complete blacktopping of the Punakha-Gasa highway was completed this year.

However, many portions of the highway are in bad condition.

Karma Tenzin said that the nature of the landscape and the weather were major reasons for the damaged roads.

“There is continuous rainfall in the area. And when water seeps in the bituminous material, it will be damaged easily,” he said.

Karma Tenzin said that studies were conducted to understand the condition of the road and bring better resolution.

The regional office has plans to increase the thickness of the road during future works.

Karma Tenzin said that the roads usually had a 20-year lifespan. “Gasa road is quite new. The Wokona area is around six to seven years old.”

Although the Gasa-Punakha highway is identified as secondary national highway, plans and budget would be proposed in the future for work similar to the primary national highway.

Karma Tenzin said that in the primary national way, an additional layer called the bituminous macadam materials (BDM) was added to the granular sub-base (GSB), wet mix macadam (WMM) and asphalt concrete (AC).

“We will see the requirement and propose accordingly,” he said.