The government is confident about completing the East-West highway by June next year, works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden said.

Commuters travelling along the northern East-West highway are however skeptical about the completion, with several reports coming in on roadblocks and slow pace of progress, especially from Yotongla in Bumthang to Tsheringma drupchu stretch in Trongsa.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden, during the Meet the Press session yesterday said the progress and challenges of the expansion are visible and many assume that the stretch won’t be able to meet the deadline. “However, the government is confident the stretch will be completed within our tenure as pledged with the planned program and tight monitoring of progress.”

She said that the highway expansion is all packaged and divided into 42 different contracts. “Although the project involves a large number of contracts, the works are well managed and tightly monitored to ensure timely completion and quality of the highway.”

The minister said the public should understand that the road is heavily used and the works of expansion are carried with less inconvenience caused to those using the highway.

She said the widening faced several challenges, as the road stretches are rocky, unstable and narrow. “The traffic remains open to the public when the works are carried out.”

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said there are problems in Trongsa, in Tshangkha, Viewpoint, Bji Zam and Trongsa town areas and the government is concerned. “We are fully aware of it,” she said. “The project faces similar problems in Kilikhar areas in Mongar.”

The minister said the major work of the expansion left is the black topping.  “Progress is quite good and I am confident that we will be able to complete latest by June next year.”

She said that the highway’s stretch from Semtokha to Wangdue bridge is only left with about two percent completion and the inauguration will be done on June 28.