Road officials in Sarpang opened the Gelephu-Zhemgang highway at Ossey to light vehicles in the afternoon of October 16.

The highway had remained completely closed to traffic for 35 days since September 9 due to landslides.

Ossey is about 27 kilometers away from Gelephu town.

The highway is expected to open for heavy vehicles soon, according to road officials.

Chief engineer with the Department of Roads in Sarpang, Chet Bdr Mongar, said that four excavators were deployed at the block site. Two, he said, were still working at the site to open the highway for heavy vehicles.

“We expect to open the road to heavy vehicles probably by tomorrow evening if everything goes as per the plan,” the chief engineer told Kuensel yesterday.

According to him, about 400 metres of the road was affected by the landslides at the block site. The clearing of the road took time since it was not just the landslides from above the road that had blocked the highway, but that the road itself had slipped.

Deputy Chief Regional Transport Officer with RSTA in Gelephu, Sonam Chophel, said that the bus service from Gelephu to Zhemgang was halted. There was a weekly bus service on the route.

The highway was opened two days ahead of the general election.

However, the chief engineer said that travellers should exercise caution for their safety while passing the affected area. He said that the road was being cleared further to enable heavy vehicles to pass and that it was not completely risk-free.

Falling of boulders and soil erosion provided hurdles in clearing the block. He also said that the workers at the site faced safety risks and that a few of workers got injured at the workplace.

MB Subba  | Gelephu