Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Distance between Mongar and Lhuentse is expected to shorten by more than 32kms once the Yongkola-Dorjilung bypass is connected.

Department of Roads (DoR) officials in Lingmethang said works on the 20kms bypass will start by July this year and commuters will not have to pass through Gangula.

Officials said the 10kms Tsamang gewog centre road from Yongkola to Tokari village in Tsamang is already blacktopped, while another 10kms farm road is also connected to Dorjilung recently.

DoR’s chief engineer, Karma Rinzin, said they only have to blacktop the 10kms farm road and construct a 200ft bailey suspension bridge at Dorjilung over Kurichhu to connect the bypass.

He said survey was conducted and a detailed project report has been submitted. “Work is expected to be awarded to the contractors by July this year.”

Meanwhile, for the commuters travelling from Mongar to Lhuentse these days, the road after crossing Gangula is not only narrow and curvy but also filled with potholes.

Commuters say the road has not been maintained for years and it takes more than three hours to reach Lhuentse. “Initially, it took only two hours but now poor road condition increased the travel time,” a commuter said.

DoR officials say they are aware of the problem and they resurfaced 6kms of the stretch in Chali and Palangphu area.

Officials said the whole stretch of 65kms Lhuentse highway from Gangula junction requires maintenance but they do not have budget.

Karma Rinzin said the regional office maintained only a few kilometres last year due to lack of budget although maintenance is critical. “We even had the plan to widen this national secondary highway once but the idea had to be dropped because of the budget issue.”

He, however, said the regional office has decided to do resurfacing work stretch wise and resurfacing another 5kms stretch is approved for 2019-20 financial year. “The work has been already tendered out and would be awarded to the contractor soon.”