If approved, the traveling distance between the two places would be shortened by around 18kms

Connectivity: The works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden walked from Chamgang in Thimphu to Nahi in Wangduephodrang via Helela with local leaders and officials to explore the feasibility of an alternative route between the two places on December 4.

This comes after former local leaders from Nahi repeatedly raised the issue in the Wangdue dzongkhag tshogdu.

The local people of Nahi and Dagala in Thimphu have requested the minister to look into the possibility of constructing a road through the route, reasoning that it would benefit in improving their livelihoods.

The Department of Roads (DoR) chief engineer Chador Gyeltshen said the site was feasible for road construction.

He said the route would shorten the Thimphu-Wangdue highway by 18km, as the distance of the road through the new alignment would be about 50kms. The distance between Thimphu and Wangdue is currently 68km.

According to officials from the works and human settlement ministry unlike the existing highway, the route between Chamgang to Nahi via Helela does not have difficult terrain and requires no bridge.

Officials said having this road as an alternative route would have many advantages including shortening the distance for the eastern and southern dzongkhags and also provide an advantage for local people of Nahi and Dagala.

“Helela is lower than Dochula, and receives much less snowfall than Dochula,” Chador Gyeltshen said.

Road officials said they would start with a Ghat-tracing survey to find the exact length and cost of the road, which is like conducting a preliminary study. “Following which if the government approves the funding, a detailed survey report would be conducted.”

They also said if the fund is approved, the formation cutting would be completed in about seven months. “The work would be much easier, as they would deploy machineries on four directions,” a road official said. “There is a need of approximately 15 to 20kms of new construction, while the rest will be improvement works.”

Chador Gyeltshen said if the government approves construction of the road, they could plan it as a secondary national highway, which could be wide enough to accommodate two vehicles to pass through at a time.

Meanwhile, while Lyonpo Dorji Choden did not promise anything, she recommended DoR engineers to conduct all the required studies.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue