Ura-Lingmethang is planned as a park road

Road: The primary northern East-West Highway, in the near future, will be diverted from Ura in Bumthang to Gorgan in Lhuentse and back to monger via gongola, said Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay during the mid-year review of the annual performance agreements (APA).

The double lane stretch from Simtokha to Wangdue will be inaugurated in March this year.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said that the plan is to take the double laned road from Simtokha to Ura, from where it will be taken to Gorgan and through Gongola, so that Mongar will be connected.

The Ura-Lingmethang road, he said, would be maintained but kept as a single lane road. “In the near future traffic would be diverted to Lhuentse and the Ura-Lingmethang road would serve as the park road,” he said.

The road from Gongola to Lingmethang would also be double laned as a connection to the industrial estate in Bongdeyma and Gyalpoishing-Nganlam highway.

As per the APA target about 133km of the north East-West Highway should be double laned by the end of this fiscal year. However, as of November 2016, only 14.7km of formation cutting has been achieved. It was cited that the budget for the 26km Ura-Serpang and 66km Yongkola-Serpang was not approved and so the ministry proposed the target be revised to 54.64km of formation cutting.

As for blacktopping of gewog centre (GC) roads, as of November last year 214.58km has been completed and the ministry has stated that it would not be possible to achieve the target of 645.459km. The proposal is to revise the target to 644.71km as works could only be executed during the dry seasons.

Without the blacktopping of roads till the gewog centre, the Prime Minster said officials from the dzongkhags are reluctant to travel, let alone officials from the ministry.

“We are prioritising the blacktopping of GC roads not because we pledged but because it’s important,” Lyonchoen said.

Formation cutting of around 11.76km of new GC roads has been completed as of November last year. But the APA agreement the works and human settlement ministry signed has a target of 40km. Due to the inclusion of new GC roads in Phuntsholing and Sarpang, the ministry proposed to increase the target to 41.4km.

Officials form the ministry said this should be achievable because there were some re-adjustments in length of road in some cases.

Tshering Dorji