Amochhu: The progress of the 58km Samtse-Phuentsholing highway has been affected by the Amochhu bridge, according to works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden.

Speaking at the Meet the Press Friday, she said officials have been facing a lot of problems in the construction of the bridge. The bridge was more or less complete when a flashflood damaged some parts of it.

“We also had contractual problems with the contractor and the government had to terminate the contract,” she said. With the termination of the contract, the Department of Road (DoR) has taken over the construction of the bridge.

“When at last the bridge is completed, the road from Samtse to Phuentsholing will be through from the Amochhu bridge,” lyonpo said.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that work will begin from the Amochu to Phuentsholing after the completion of the bridge. “The road (from the Amochhu to Phuentsholing) is pliable in winter,” she said.

Since the Amochhu reclamation project is underway, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that the two projects had to be carried out simultaneously. “The Amochhu project and the DoR are working together to bring the road through till the Phuentsholing town,” she said.

“It requires quite a lot of money because we need flood protection measures along the road. We can’t just have a simple road,” lyonpo added.

She said it is an expensive stretch of six kilometres that is left. “But highway is picking up.”

For the fiscal year 2015-16, DoR officials in Phuentsholing have proposed for Nu 450.7 million to complete the remaining distance.  However, the government has approved only Nu 100 million.

The road project started in 2006 but work got delayed because the contractors had to be changed after they did not perform well.

When the road construction completes, the journey to Samtse, which takes approximately two hours today, will be shortened by almost an hour and will be safer for the travellers.

MB Subba