With the completion of the construction of Chubjarongchu bridge in Thrakthi, Sakteng gewog, residents in Trashigang are hopeful that the gewog centre road would be completed on time.

The 120ft Bailey bridge, constructed with Nu 6M, opened to traffic yesterday.

The bridge connects Thrakthi (the current nearest road point to Sakteng) and Talo, where another bailey bridge (80 feet) would be constructed.

Executive engineer with the Department of Road’s (DoR) subdivision in Rangjung, Karma Tshewang, said the lack of a bridge was a bottleneck that hampered the continuous progress of work at the site. “With the completion of the bridge, we can now push the work forward.”

He said that the bridge would allow the transportation of the machine, along with fuel tankers effortlessly. “Without the bridge, we had to ferry fuels on horses through the narrow bypasses.”

The slow progress of works at the Sakteng GC road came under scrutiny during the last dzongkhag tshogdu. The residents demanded that the work be given to private contractors.

Thrakthi tshogpa Sonam Tshewang said the department has accelerated the work after the issue was raised at the dzongkhag tshogdu. “We are happy with the launch of the bridge here in Thrakti. It shows that they have heard our concerns and are working towards solving them.”

Since works began on the 11.5km GC road in December 2015, DoR’s regional office in Trashigang has completed about 6.4km of formation cutting works so far. About 3km of back cutting works has also been completed, according to DoR officials.

The tshogpa said that with the completion of the bridge, travel time to Talo is reduced by about an hour and a half from Thrakthi. “All we want now is the road to be completed. It would take some time but we are hopeful that the works would finish soon.”

However, the extreme weather condition in the gewog remains the biggest challenge.  DoR officials said they can work effectively only for about six to seven months a year.

Karma Tshewang said that since the GC road runs parallel to the mule track, it becomes inconvenient to stop the machines frequently to allow people to cross the mule tracks during the migration seasons.

“This is the time when they start migrating. It slows the work progress and causes inconvenience,” he said.

There are seven excavators along with two rock-drillers and two air-compressors and about 30 workers deployed at the site.

Officials said that formation cutting works until the gewog centre would be completed by June next year. The road from Dogorom until Thrakthi is also being restored. DoR has been allotted Nu 7M for gradient correction and realignment of the 36km road.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang