Roads: Except for the gewogs of Merak and Sakteng, blacktopping works on gewog connectivity (GC) roads of nine gewogs in Trashigang are in full swing.

Of the 15 gewogs in the dzongkhag, the Radhi and Phongmey GC roads have already been blacktopped. Additionally, the GC roads of Kanglung and Khaling have also been blacktopped since they are located next to the Trashigang-Samdrupjongkhar highway.

The 26km GC road to Radhi, which also connects the gewog of Phongmey which is a further seven kilometres from Radhi, were the first GC roads to be blacktopped.

The 33km GC road to Phongmey via Radhi also connects both Merak and Sakteng.

The blacktopping work on the Bartsham GC road has also resumed with a new contractor taking over.

Over 1.3km of the 22.5km Bartsham GC road has been blacktopped. Laying of the base course has almost been completed on the entire stretch.

The new GC road connecting Bidung via Rangjung is also being blacktopped.

Base course works of the Samkhar GC road, which is 7.8km from Lungtenzampa has been completed.

An official from Department of Roads (DoR) said that as of now, the roadside drainage works and sub-grade preparations are being carried out.

The granular sub-base on the Shongphu GC road has been completed and drainage works on 2km of the 4.1km stretch is being carried out. Wet mix macadam materials are also stocked at the site to start the blacktopping which is worth Nu 10.96 million (M) and scheduled to be completed by May this year.

In Udzorong, only bitumen works are left after the base course works were completed in the first phase. Wet mix macadam works are under process in the second phase.

Even in Lumang, the base course has been completed on 10kms of the 12km road to the gewog centre at Kurichilo.

Tsangpo DoR sub-division executive engineer, Karma, said that with much of the base course work completed, Thrimshing is waiting only for bitumen works now. “The bitumen works on the 15.42km gewog road from Tashi Yongphu to Thrimshing should begin soon,” Karma said.

In Kangpar, blacktopping works on 5km of the total 29.41km GC road has been achieved in the first phase from Kharungla to Paedhung. “The blacktop works on the second phase of eight kilometres from Paedhung Zampa to Kangpar has been completed,” Karma said.

In Yangnyer, 17kms of the road has been blacktopped.

Meanwhile, though blacktop works are in the plan for Merak, people have chosen to give their gewog road more time for stabilisation since much of it passes through swampy land.

“People have asked for base course works and soiling to let the road stabilise before starting the blacktop works,” Trashigang Dzongdag Cheki Gyeltshen said.

But improvements are being made in phases. “In 2016-2017, around five kilometres of the gewog connectivity road received soiling and wet mix macadam works from Jigmeling to Merak,” Rangjung DoR sub-division executive engineer, Karma Tshewang, said.

He said Sakteng also wouldn’t have its GC road blacktopped until the road, which has been left halfway at Thrakthri reaches its gewog centre. The existing road till Thrakthri would also require major rectifications, which could be as good as reconstruction because of steep gradient and hazardous sharp turns.

The construction of 12km of road from Thrakthri to Sakteng is estimated to cost over Nu 110 million.

Tempa Wangdi