Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Bulldozers cleared the final stretch of formation cutting on the Jomotshangkha-Samrang road in Samdrupjongkhar yesterday.

The first internal road would form a part of the southern east-west highway connecting Tendu in Samtse in the west to Jomotshangkha in the east.

The Department of Road’s (DoR) chief engineer in Samdrupjongkhar, Jigme Choidup, said since the Project Dantak completed the road’s formation cutting, in about two months vehicles could ply on the road while the boleros with four-wheel drive could travel at the moment.

He said that since about eight kilometres (km) were left, Project Dantak resumed work after the unlocking of the second nationwide lockdown. The Project Dantak began the highway construction works on April 26 last year.

Since the project was focused on connecting the drungkhag with the dzongkhag headquarter, the Project Dantak worked hard from both Samrang and Jomotshangkha with DoR support.

The DoR initiated the construction works, and of the 50km, it completed the formation cutting of 43km in the 11th plan.

Of the 19 bridges of various length, construction of 17 bridges, the remaining formation cutting of 15km and surfacing works were handed over to the Project Dantak.

Jigme Choidup said that since the construction of abutments at Kalanadi and Nunai were completed, launching of the 240ft bridge at Kalanadi and 90ft bridge at Nunai would be completed by next month.

He said the completion of the bridges were delayed because of the lockdown.

“We are also facing labour challenges as the workers do not want to work on the wage system. We are constructing the bridges through the labour contract,” Jigme Choidup said.

The estimated cost for Jomotshangkha-Samrang highway is Nu 1.532B, funded by the Government of India under the project tied assistance funding.