With the reconstruction of the much-awaited Dagapela-Dalbari secondary national highway in full swing, the road construction is expected to complete by the end of next year, project officials say.

The road construction resumed in March this year after it was stopped for almost two years.

Prior to the construction halt in 2015, works were carried out in three packages. The two terminated packages of B and C are now being split into four packages.

The project manager, Pema Thinley, said two contractors were awarded two packages each.

While Norzang construction is carrying out works on package C1 and C2 between Dagapela-Geserling stretch, Druk Lhayul construction is carrying out package B1 and B2 between Geserling and Odalthang.

The project manager said that after resuming works, at least 20km length of first cutting and widening has been done so far. Kalika-Yangkhil construction continued carrying out works on package A between Dalbari-Odalthang. A total of 29km has been completed so far in the stretch.

He said that as of now, almost 50km has been constructed of the total 80.58km Dalbari-Dagapela secondary national highway.

Meanwhile, Dagana local leaders proposed for blacktop of the stretch between Dagapela junction and the hospital during the recent dzongkhag tshogdu.

Kana gup Lhawang Dorji, who is the DT chairman, said that the stretch of road is important but is always full of muck and slippery, causing problems to commuters.

He said that important offices such as hospital, schools and other institutes are also located along the stretch of the road. “Local leaders are requesting the project to blacktop the stretch until Geserling Central School, if not at least until the hospital in this fiscal year itself.”

However, the project manager reported to the tshogdu that according to the ministry’s plan, only the base course will be laid in the fiscal year 2017-2018.

He said that blacktopping few kilometres will not be feasible to mobilise resource and could cause also public inconvenience.

When local leaders insisted that the stretch has to be blacktopped within the 2017-2018 fiscal year, he suggested that the DT could pass a resolution to request the works and human settlement ministry to allow blacktopping the stretch within the fiscal year 2017-2018.

The project manager said that they will forward the resolution to the ministry and wait for directives.

The Dagapela-Dalbari secondary national highway passes through five gewogs of Tshendagang, Goshi, Dorona, Gesarling and Deorali.

The secondary national highway is expected to enhance economic efficiency and competitiveness of the export industry by providing faster and more reliable freight movement.

Soon after construction had begun, the project was stopped and contractors were later terminated in March 2015 following complaints and investigation by the Anti Corruption Commission.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu