Lhakpa Quendren

The Gelephu Thromde administration submitted a request for Nu 30 million to the finance ministry for the development of a 2.5km urban corridor along the Gelephu-Sarpang highway.

Currently, only about 100 meters of the road adjacent to the bridge have been blacktopped as part of the bridge construction package. The blacktopping of the remaining road could not be completed due to budget constraints.

The traffic has been routed onto a new road after the bypass near a stream, located one and a half kilometers from Gelephu town along the old road, was completely washed away by the recent heavy rainfall.

Gelephu Thrompon Tshering Norbu said that the thromde would proceed with the blacktopping of the road as planned if the finance ministry approves their budget proposal.

“Without blacktops, it incurs a huge budget for regular maintenance of the potholes. This causes a shortage of funds for other essential activities of thromde,” Thrompon Tshering Norbu said, adding that commuters also complain about the potholes and poor road conditions.

“Gelephu has become a very important destination in the country where many important visitors come regularly. So, it is our responsibility to ensure the maintenance and smooth conditions of the road,” he said. “It is seen essential as everyone has to pass through this road.”

The road, which was initially designed with a width of 30 meters, is now planned to have only an eight-meter wide blacktopped surface, according to the Thrompon.

The road is filled with potholes and causes inconvenience for commuters, particularly regular travelers such as taxis and public buses.

A taxi driver, Suk Bahadur Tamang, said that some speeding vehicles also splash pothole water onto other vehicles as they pass by each other. “As we have to travel regularly along this road, we would appreciate it if the road could be made smoother. If the blacktopping work is prolonged, it would cause damage to the vehicle, which needs regular maintenance.”

A resident said that the poor road conditions also pose difficulties to pedestrians using the road. “This presents challenges, especially for those people who walk. If the road is muddy in the rainy season, it will become dusty during the winter.”

The Gelephu Thromde began the construction of the urban corridor road network project in 2020 with a budget of Nu 300 million. This urban corridor spans from the fuel station to the airport, which covers the Gelephu dry port.