Road: The entire length of the 29.2km Damchu-Chukha bypass has finally been connected.

Until now a rocky cliff near Chukha at the 25.2km point, impeded the joining of the road.

While much more work needs to be done before vehicles can ply on this bypass, people are now able to walk across this rocky area, which is visible from Chukha.

Calling it an achievement of their most difficult task on the 29.2km Damchu-Chukha bypass, DANTAK has finally connected the two road ends at a rocky cliff at the 25.2km mark.

“The most difficult task of the Damchu-Chukha bypass has been achieved with connectivity,” DANTAK Chapcha officer commandant, Major Ankur Mahajan said.

Earlier, people working from Chukha side could not see those toiling on the other side of the road from Damchu.

“This was the critical connectivity we were searching for because unless you get the original connectivity of the road it becomes difficult and demoralizing for the workers to continue working without seeing who is working on the other side,” project DANTAK chief engineer, Brigadier PKG Mishra said.

“But now obviously we will be able to walk across on to the other side,” Brigadier PKG Mishra said. “It’s just a matter of time when we get the road to the desired level by the process of benching down,” he added, referring to lowering the level of the road.

The road has to be lowered to the level of the existing highway by 80-90 metres.

The brigadier also assured that the road will be completed by June 2017. “I am sure that as I earlier declared I will be opening this road by June 2017,” he said.

Major Mahajan said that the remaining works should not take as much time as the formation cutting had. “We can at least say that the remaining works should not take as much time as the formation cutting did, which was the most difficult job on the entire stretch,” he added.

Even the contractor constructing two bridges on the bypass has promised to deliver the bridges by next year, according to DANTAK. “By all probabilities, with the grace of god,  we should be able to give this most important road to the people of Bhutan who really deserve it,” Brigadier PKG Mishra said.

With the formation cutting at this rocky cliff achieved, Major Mahajan said that work on only a 5.5km stretch of the bypass remains. “Wherever possible, blacktop works have been completed with only 5.5km remaining,” Major Mahajan said.

The remaining works to be completed are at the 20.4km point near the Chukha dam site while the other one is at the 21.2km point.

When asked what happens if the road is not completed by next year, the brigadier reiterated that it will be completed by then. “Lets cross the bridge when we reach it,” he said. “But I am promising you the road will be given by next year.”

It was also pointed out that the bypass is not delayed. Officially, the brigadier said, the probable date of completion is December 2017.

“So officially I am supposed to be constructing this road till December 2017 but I am going to give this road six months prior to that,” the chief engineer said.

As per project DANTAK’s sign board at Damchu, the Damchu-Chukha bypass construction began in March 2010 and was supposed to be completed by 2016.

Tempa Wangdi