Tshering Namgyal | Namling

For Tshering Wangdi, a dozer operator at Namling area, the last few months have been daunting.

Land and rockslides are frequent, triggered by continuous rainfall.

“Every now and then the cleared road is damaged by new slides. Visibility is poor because of thick fog. Work progress is slow,” a contractor said.

Sherub Dorji, site engineer of M/s. Biky Construction, involved in widening and blacktopping 12.83km stretch from Yongkola to Namling bridge, said that the continuous rain hampers the work progress.

He said that the widening work would continue after the expatriate operators who are in the quarantine reaches the site soon.

Sherub Dorji said that frequent breakdown of machines also hampers the work.

Contractors said that work continues from dawn until dusk and timings are strictly observed between 11.30 am to 1.30 pm. If travellers miss this timeline, they must wait until 6pm.

Construction officials last week kept the road open to traffic throughout the day because the widening works were completed in almost all the stretches between Yongkola and Ura.

A roadblock near Namling bridge recently due to rockslides stranded several vehicles for about a week; two vehicles (Suzuki Celerio and Bolero) were crushed by falling boulders. Sonam from Saling, who recently returned from Thimphu after medical treatment, said the road condition is so bad around this time at this stretch.

Construction officials are advising road users to avoid travelling at night as the stretch from Yongkola to Namling area gets continuous rainfall.

The stretch between Yongkola and Ura was awarded in eight contract packages for the period of 24 months each with different timing. Except for one or two contractors who have been affected by harsh weather conditions, the rest are expecting to meet the deadline.

At the National Assembly recently, Human Settlement Minister Dorji Tshering said that about 50 percent of the road was ready for blacktopping and that monsoon was hindering the progress.