Clear Dzongkhalum block by September 22: PM

Connectivity: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay instructed the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA) the dzongkhag, the Department of Roads and the contractor, Bhutan Engineering to clear the Dzongkhalum roadblock by September 22.

Dzongkhalum is some 10km from Trongsa towards Zhemgang and has been blocked for two months.

The second election coordination meeting for the second phase of second local government (LG) elections in the dzongkhag had decided to have the road cleared by September 20.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay, who visited the site on September 10, said authorities could not take any risks by allowing vehicles through MHPA’s head-race tunnel, which is doubling as a bypass currently.

Lyonchoen stressed that clearing the Dzongkhalum roadblock is crucial and it must be achieved at the earliest. “I am worried about the tunnel,” he said.

He also instructed the Trongsa dzongdag to update him on the progress of the work everyday with photographs. “The dzongdag should email me photographs of the work site whether there is progress or not, so that I can keep track,” he said.

Lyonchoen said that while September 22 is the deadline, it can be cleared even earlier if the weather is favourable.

Lyonchoen reminded those working on the site that progress should be maintained daily, and that not only when he is visiting the site.

Finance minister, Namgay Dorji, who is accompanying Lyonchoen, said authorities involved should hold a meeting and divide roles and responsibilities as to how to expedite the work. He also instructed the authorities to hold the meeting soon.

He also said he has requested MHPA to provide bus services from Langthel and Drakteng gewogs to Trongsa. MHPA has agreed and the bus services will start soon.

Lyonpo Namgay Dorji said people will have to pay a minimal fee for the service. The buses are expected to help people move around until September 22.

The Trongsa-Zhemgang highway was blocked at Dzongkhalum on July 5 following a landslide. Falling boulders destroyed the bridge at Dzongkhalum on July 24.

Nima Wangdi | Dzongkhalum

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    When the country has noticed many road development projects in recent time, the terrain related development and maintenance challenge will remain a long term risk to mitigate. But that shouldn’t deter the engineering efforts in providing better connectivity.

    Only recently, I have studied a few technical things about technologies like ‘soil nailing’ and ‘mechanically stabilised earth’ walls as retention walls in dealing with monsoon related hazards like landslide and sliding rocks in road construction projects. When one talks ‘soil nailing’ and other related technologies in mechanically stabilising a difficult terrain, there are chances that he may be reading a lot about Hong Kong and its landslide prevention, slope stabilisation and mitigation programmes.

    Even when we have discussed the recent earthquake in Nepal, we keep mentioning the numerous landslides that occurred during that quake. And even a minor earthquake during the bad monsoon days can be a major challenge in any hilly terrain. So I just hope that the engineering efforts in the country make an extra effort in mechanically stabilising the project sites and the immediate environment.

    I am not sure what kind of soil nailing techniques will work in Bhutanese terrain and I am not even any expert to know whether such techniques can be applied or not in the local conditions. But development with physical stability of the terrain for physical stability to be maintained in long run should provide positive results in my opinion. A road project may become a bit more expensive that way, but it should never cost as much as a tunnel road of much shorter length.

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