Connectivity: The 75-kilometre Gyalpoizhing-Nganglam highway could finally be connected in about three months if work progress is not hindered by machine break downs.

Project engineer with Department of Roads (DoR) in Nganglam, Thinley Tenzin, said that only five to ten metres are left for the formation cutting from the Nganglam side to reach Kuri-Gongri confluence where it will meet with the other end constructed from Gyalpoizhing. At the confluence, a bailey bridge will connect the two ends of the highway.

“More or less, it’s almost reached to the confluence with only five-10 metres of trace cutting left,” Thinley Tenzin said.

The project engineer said once the trace cutting is done, back cutting should not take long. “If there is no machine break down, the road will be connected by two-three months.” He added that the project could not meet its January end deadline to reach formation cutting to the confluence because of damage and break down of ROC, foundation-drilling equipment. While one of the ROC machines was crushed beyond repair, the other has broken down. As a result, works on the Nganglam side of the highway slowed down though back cutting works are under full swing.

Thinley Tenzin said that works would resume once the ROC, which has been sent for repair is back to the site. “We have sent it for repair and we should be able to resume the works once it is back here.”

The impending danger for the excavator operators is also hindering the progress. “Operators are also reluctant to work there because of risks since its like going to a war with no assurance that one will come back alive,” Thinley Tenzin said.

But no was hurt in the recent incident where the ROC was crushed by a falling rock. Despite difficulties, the highway on the Nganglam side has completed blacktop on 38 kilometres of the total 43 kilometres from Tsenkari.

The contractor is already working on the blacktop from 38 kilometre to 42.6 kilometre. “The budget for blacktop works from 42.6-43 kilometre will be proposed for the 2017 fiscal year,” Thinley Tenzin said.

The construction of the highway from GyalpoIzhing side has already reached Kuri-Gongri confluence.

“Project vehicles can now ply till the confluence,” DoR project engineer in Gyalpoizhing Sonam Tenzin said.

Blacktop works has been completed on 24 of approximately 33 kilometre. Drainage, base course and granular sub- base works are underway on the remaining stretch of the highway.

Works and human settlement ministry has instructed its regional office to complete the formation cutting by April. “The ministry has also instructed that the highway should be complete by October this year,” Lingmethang DoR chief engineer, Karma Rinzin, said.

The highway is also expected to increase to 76 kilometres from its previous estimated length of 75.

Tempa Wangdi