A second try means getting things right

Work to construct a second expressway linking Thimphu  City to Debsi will begin this year.

The second expressway is expected to decongest the existing Thimphu to Babesa expressway which is already facing traffic jams; which we can only expect to get worse with vehicle imports rising.

The thromde had determined that a second expressway is the solution.

What we do hope is that the agencies concerned have learnt enough from the debacle that was the first expressway.

The 6.2km Thimphu-Babesa expressway took around six years to build, which means a kilometre a year. This may qualify for some kind of award.

It is hoped that the same problems that plagued the construction of the Thimphu-Babesa expressway are avoided this time.

Despite the Thimphu-Babesa expressway being completed in several years back, problems continued to emerge in recent years.

In no chronological order, we had the double-layered green mesh, then single-layer green mesh, a new raised divider that thankfully lasted for only a few metres, then some very high speed bumps, which of course will be removed once underground passes are constructed, among others.

In recent times, the need for taxi stops, bus parking lanes, and foot and bicycle paths, has been identified and is being implemented.

What we should learn from our experience is that we cannot stop people from crossing an expressway, and therefore instead of wasting resources trying to build fences or large dividers, careful thought needs to go into either overhead bridges, underpasses, or just zebra crossings. We can use a combination of the two with the former two being placed in high pedestrian traffic zones given the high costs.

It is also hoped that provision has been kept for footpaths, bicycle lanes, taxi and bus stops.

We must also learn from how developed countries construct their expressways. For instance, the flyover in Changzamtok abruptly joins the expressway without any lane to allow traffic to gradually merge as would be found in developed countries. This goes for all secondary roads that join or exit the expressway.

With increasing traffic there is a need for professionals to be designing our roads so that traffic flows smoother, thereby mitigating traffic jams.

The new expressway can, unlike the first one, set a benchmark in terms of how roads should be built and designed in Bhutan.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    Roads, as an infrastructure, bring socio-economic developments along with serving the traffic needs. And this development is more effective in terms of the economy in an urban setup than that of sub-urban or rural. But we do expect good roads to benefit even the sub-urban and rural infrastructure to drive better economic growth.

    We always talk and discuss the issues with the present expressway, but no one can deny the socio-economic benefits that it has brought to match the urban development requirements of Thimphu in recent times. And it’s also true that the Thromde is expected to show improved project execution with this second expressway.

    Even in a recent post on Kuensel, a Thromde official is talking this new expressway project and the things that they are planning to do differently. The Thromde is going to carry out the initial stages of the project including land acquisition and even formation cutting. So we expect the Thromde to be in better position for dispute management as the road gets planned and developed.

    Moreover, we hope that the Thromde gets the width of the planned second expressway spot on keeping future urban development plans in consideration. And even the first expressway in place is not a long one. For someone who has used expressway in developed countries, this one does end abruptly as one approaches Thimphu traffic from the Babesa side. With the second expressway ready, traffic flow will definitely improve as every city demands its own designs for best results.

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