… reassures project DANTAK during a visit by the Prime Minister to the work site 

Connectivity: Project DANTAK has assured Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay that the 29.2 kilometre Chukha-Damchu bypass will be completed by June 2017.

Lyonchoen who was en-route to Samtse walked from the Chukha hydropower plant dam site to the end of the bypass, which connects with the existing highway above Theckchen Zam.  “Project DANTAK has told me that the road would be readied for inauguration by June 2017,” Lyonchoen said.

The Prime Minister visited the bypass construction site to see the progress of the work. “I am visiting the road to see what problems and difficulties the project is facing and whether the government will have to assist DANTAK,” he said.

Speaking to the workers that include both men and women, Lyonchoen thanked them for their hard work to construct the bypass. “After visiting here I have found that everyone in project DANTAK is working really hard to complete the road,” he said.

While the prime minister has visited the bypass four times since the construction began, yesterday’s visit was the first since the two ends of the bypass was connected towards the end of May this year.

Construction progress of the bypass was impeded because of over one kilometre of rocky cliffs above Theckchen Zam, located around half a kilometre from the existing Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway.

It took the project around one and a half years to get to the current area where formation cutting is occurring.

But the project still faces a tough task ahead with the need to bring down the existing formation cutting to the exiting highway level. “The most difficult task now is lowering the formation cutting by over 35 metres to connect with the existing highway,” Lyonchoen said.

As of now the project has lowered the one-kilometre rocky stretch by 10-15 metres. The project has a daunting task ahead as it has to lower it by 75-80 metres in total.

Meanwhile, progress on the construction of the three bridges between Chukha and Damchu is also on track. “The project has completed the construction of one bridge, while the work for one at Tanalum Chhu has begun,” Lyonchoen said. “The third one is being readied for construction,” he added.

DANTAK Chapcha officer commandant, Major Ankur Mahajan said that though rain did impede work, the outlook has been better since mid-September. “But things have improved after mid-September and the work progress has been pretty good,” Ankur Mahajan said.

With favourable weather conditions ahead, DANTAK hopes to complete the road by June 2017, which is six months ahead of its original project deadline of December 2017. “So we are planning to complete the formation cutting in the next four-five months,” Ankur Mahajan said.

Tempa Wangdi