Connectivity: A portion of the Thimphu-Chunzom highway in Babesa collapsed on October 1 threatening another Kamji.

Half the width of the highway was lost following the collapse and allowing for only single-lane traffic. The collapse is attributed to the river and water seepage on the hill.

A project DANTAK press release said a DANTAK team led by its chief engineer was immediately mobilised and deployed to the area to assess the situation and take necessary damage control measures.

It was decided that the hill would have to be cut into at the area to widen the road. Work began by 3:30pm.

“Since the machines of Project DANTAK were deployed slightly away from the damaged site, which would have taken considerable time to mobilise, immediate help was provided by Department of Roads (DoR) (which) provided two excavators to work,” the DANTAK press release says.

Meanwhile, the Thimphu Dzongdag coordinated with the Department of Information Technology and Telecom and Department of Forests for DANTAK to proceed with its work, the press release adds.

Work continued through the night to avoid more damage to the road and to prevent a crisis situation in case of more rain. By October 2, a second lane  was created and normal traffic restored, according to the press release. The width was further extended to ensure minimum loads on the weakened portion.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited the site on October 2 and was briefed on the situation by the DANTAK chief engineer, works and human settlement ministry secretary, and Thimphu dzongdag.

The DANTAK press release points out that the DoR excavators were returned to the department by October 2 and that the entire site is currently with DANTAK, which is beginning permanent restoration work.

“The entire work will take about 3-4 months to complete,” the press release states.

DANTAK workers decided to work through the night at the site yesterday as well.

Staff reporter