Ugyen Dorji

Mongar — The Gangola-Lhuentse widening project will begin in the 13th five-year plan, following the completion of survey and design activities six months ago, officials from the Department of Surface Transport (DoST) at Lingmethang, Mongar confirmed.

Chief Engineer Kinzang Dorji from DoST said that the department intends to commence the work in the first year of the 13th five-year plan. However, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport Service (MoIT) indicated that the commencement would align with the formation of the new government.

“We are waiting for the order from the ministry,” said Kinzang Dorji.

He said that the stretch from Gangola to Lhuentse spans 65km, with four km falling under municipal jurisdiction and having already been widened by the Mongar municipal. The estimated budget for the remaining 61km of the Gangola-Lhuentse highway work is approximately Nu 1.2 billion.

The widening project, slated to be executed by the Department of Surface Transport, is expected to conclude within two years if the budget is secured promptly, according to Kinzang Dorji.

The road width stands at 2.5 meters. With the widening, the road will boast a minimum width of 5.5 meters, facilitating the simultaneous passage of two vehicles and incorporating an improved drainage system.

Acknowledging the current suboptimal road condition, Kinzang Dorji said that the DoST refrains from maintenance work as the widening project is on the horizon.

Sangay Dema, a resident of Chali aged 65, observed a surveyor assessing the road last year but noted that the widening work is yet to commence. Expressing concerns about the growing number of people and vehicles, she said that the widening was necessary.

A driver, Wangchuk suggested that widening the road would reduce travel time from Gangola to Lhuentse by approximately 30 minutes. Truck driver Chenga said that the narrow road is challenging for heavy vehicles, and expressing optimism about the widening project’s potential benefits.

“The widening work will benefit us, and we hope that the work starts soon,” said Chenga.