Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Contractors who are awarded works to widen the Ura-Serpang stretch along the East-West Highway are rushing to complete their work within the given deadline of June end this year.

Officials from the Department of Roads (DOR) said while two of the three work packages were expected to meet the deadline, one might miss the deadline.

DoR’s chief engineer of DOR’s in Trongsa, Ugyen Dorji, said two contractors have already completed wet mix mecadam (WMM) level and currently constructing drains.

However, he said one contractor is in the process of laying WMM and constructing drains and the work would be delayed until the end of this year.

All three contractors were awarded nine-kilometres stretch each for a period 24 months.

According to the chief engineer, blacktopping work of the under progressed contractor would be hampered by the upcoming monsoon. “We’re constantly monitoring but will levy penalty if the contractors fails to meet the deadline.”

The 27km road widening work is worth Nu 300 million.

Meanwhile, about 60 percent of the 10kms stretch between Serpang and Thrumshingla has been completed.

DoR officials said while the formation cutting is completed and permanent works like culvert and retaining wall were also completed, 50 percent of the granular sub-base (GSB) was completed and WMM laid in two kilometres.

The 12kms stretch between Thrumshingla and Sengor also has similar progress and about 50 percent of the work has been completed.

The two stretches are due to be completed by the end of this year.

The 68kms Serpang-Yongkola stretch falls under DoR’s regional office in Lingmethang, Mongar. It was awarded in five contract packages.

Lingmethang regional office’ chief engineer, Kinzang Dorji, said with only formation cutting completed another two stretches of Sengor-Latongla and Namling-Yongkola are with 30 percent progress, while the stretch between Latongla and Namling has 50 percent progress with formation cutting done and 50 percent GSB completed.

The works along those stretches were due to be completed by the end of 2023.

Kinzang Dorji said all the work packages were awarded for the period of 24 months and are in full swing.

Meanwhile, several roadblocks and pathetic road condition resulting from the widening work, particularly between Sengor and Yongkola has caused inconveniences to the travellers along this highway often compelling the commuters to spend a night in the car on the way.

The recent blocks were cleared early this week and DoR cautioned travellers to avoid travelling after dusk.

Kinzang Dorji said continuous blasting has disturbed the young mountains worsened by the onset of monsoon and there is a high risk for rockslides.

“If the risk is high, we stop the vehicles from the starting point with the help of traffic police but it’s difficult to monitor all the time. The road users must be extra cautious while travelling,” he said.

The East-West highway widening work, which began in 2014 and initially targeted to complete in 2017, is expected to complete by the end of 2023.