The Zhemgang-Gelephu highway is expected to open to traffic by afternoon today. A huge boulder has blocked the highway at Ossey, 28kms away from Gelephu since yesterday.

The department of road tried several times to break the rock with explosives but to no avail. Attempts made to push the rock with an excavator also failed.

Department of Roads’ engineer Samdrup Tshering said that a compressor is deployed today from Gelephu. The compressor will drill a hole in the rock, in which explosion will be inserted to blast the rock.

“We hope the road will be cleared by 1pm today,” he said. He added that stranded light vehicles despite caution crossed the block through a small passage on the edge of the road. The edge is slippery and has loose soil, he warned.

The highway was also blocked at 24kms. Here the road is filled with muck making it slippery.  “Minor road blocks keep occurring at various location when there is heavy rainfall. We clear it as soon as possible,” he said.

On the same highway, another roadblock was reported at Aie Slip, about eight kilometers from Gelephu. However, the road was cleared by afternoon yesterday. Assistant engineer Kishor Chhetri said that during rainfall, muck and boulders keep eroding onto the road.

There was also a massive block at Box-cutting, which DoR could clear by 3pm yesterday. “At Aie slip and Box-cutting, muck keeps sliding onto the road and besides clearing it time and again, we can’t do anything,” he said. “Our machines are stationed there full time.”

Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu