Following lengthy discussions at the last dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) that requested the Department of Roads (DoR) to maintain and blacktop the highway between Damphu and Sunkosh tri-junction, the DoR has recently proposed for budget to the government.

The 18kms stretch is filled with potholes, cracks and sunken areas.

The need to maintain the stretch was first discussed in the Patshaling gewog tshogde. It was then discussed at the second DT in July last year.

Although DoR officials were not present at the DT, the DT members shared the resolution.

DoR’s chief executive engineer, CB Mongar, agreed that the particular stretch is in a deteriorated condition and its time for maintenance.

“But the department did not have a budget until now,” he said.  “However, following the DT resolution, the department made a proposal to the government.”

He said they are hopeful that the budget would come through in the next financial year (2018-2019).

CB Mongar said the department would soon begin patching up the potholes along the highway.” Bitumen emulsion and other materials are being deployed for routine maintenance at the moment.”

He explained that it has been more than five years since the stretch was last blacktopped and its due for resurfacing. “A 20mm thick blacktop surfacing was done then but with a drastic increase in traffic and movement of heavy vehicles, the road condition began depleting.”

CB Mongar said that resurfacing of the highway is carried out phase wise. “While we are waiting for budget approval to maintain Damphu-Sunkosh stretch, the contract has been already awarded to resurface the highway between Damphu and Sarpang.”

The road between Damphu and Sarpang has also deteriorated at several stretches. At least four-kilometre of the road has been contracted to blacktop before the onset of monsoon.

CB Mongar said that the department has an approved the budget of Nu 25M to strengthen pavement.

DoR also has awarded the contract to thoroughly maintain the 2km highway between Sunkosh tri-junction to Sunkosh bazar.

Work is expected to begin soon on the stretch.  “By the time we finish these two phases, we might be able to begin work on maintaining Damphu to Sunkosh tri-junction stretch,” CB Mongar said.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang