Township: The construction of a 46-metre span girder bridge over the Omchu (river), which recently commenced, is among the first activities to decongest roads in Phuentsholing town.

Nepal-based Tundi Construction private limited has been awarded the job, and is currently mustering the basic essentials to carry out the road approaches on both sides. The bridge will be constructed near the Youth Development Fund centre.

The project, worth Nu 90M (million), is funded through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is providing 85 percent of the capital in loan, while the remaining 15 percent is government funding.  The construction will complete in 18 months.

On completion, the bridge will connect to bridge near the crocodile conservation farm, from where a road would connect the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway near the RBA area.  The bridge at the crocodile farm is also an ADB-funded project under South Asia sub-regional economic cooperation (SASEC).

Today, traffic in Phuentsholing town remains jammed most of the time, with hundreds of trucks entering through the town to move towards Pasakha and the rest of the country.  The traffic jam starts right from Jaigaon and continues until the Rinchending checkpost.

With this bridge constructed, trucks will not enter the town from the existing main gate.  Trucks will have to use the second gate at Bow bazaar, Jaigaon and ply over the bridge towards the highway.

Although there is nothing concrete about the second gate at the moment, Phuentsholing thrompon Tsheten Dorji said the India side has been “very supportive.”

“It ‘s almost through from their side,” the thrompon said, and explained that the Indian counterpart was working on site identification to relocate and shift the current Bow bazaar. “They’ve even told us to go ahead with our work if we were ready.”

Another change the Phuentsholing thromde will make is to shift the vegetable stalls from the current location near RSTA building to the old truck parking area.

The project to construct a mini dry port in Phuentsholing under SASEC, which had remained on paper for almost a decade, will also be constructed soon.  Thrompon Tsheten Dorji said the land issue had finally been resolved.

The project was put on hold, since it was affecting two private plots and a two-storied residential building.  Initially, the affected landowners were substituted with plots equivalent to their original plots, and compensated with cash, as per the property assessment and valuation agency’s rate.

Landowners later expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation amount and appealed that the original plots fell under urban area and fetched higher rates.

With the issue resolved, work on the Nu 116M worth mini dry port project will start soon.

A land customs station (LCS) at the Bolan Chaupati-Pasakha bypass at Alley in Pekarzhing, Pasakha will also be constructed to divert the heavy industrial truckloads.  This project also comes under the SASEC and aims at easing traffic congestion of Phuentsholing and Jaigaon.

For the construction of the LCS, mini-dry port, and the bypass road, ADB has committed USD 12.95M.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing