Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Almost three days after the road width at Khelekha along the Wangdue-Trongsa highway was washed off on September 11, the road opened to traffic last night.

Travellers had been stranded at Khelekha, located around 27km from Wangdue bridge towards Trongsa for over three days until yesterday night.

Department of Roads (DoR) had been trying to create a bypass since September 11.

According to Chief Engineer with the Department of Roads’ regional office in Lobesa, Karma Tenzin, four excavators were deployed at site to create bypass.

Many travellers stuck at the location were returning to Wangdue for the block to clear. Others, mostly truckers, were camped near the site.

Jamyang Gyeltshen, who was planning to travel to Tashiyangtse, said that he had been in Wangdue since he heard of the roadblock at Khelekha. “I am waiting in Bajo with by elder brother for the block to clear.”

Among the many stranded at the location was a group of journalists and health staff moving to Bumthang for a five-day workshop on September 12.

Bhutan Times’ reporter, Lhakpa Tshering, said that because the planned meeting couldn’t be postponed, they walked on foot for around 20 minutes, passing the roadblock to reach the other side of the block.

He added that the team left for Bumthang around 5:30pm on September 12. “We reached Khelekha from Thimphu around 12:30pm and waited for the vehicle coming from Bumthang. Although the vehicles had come early from Bumthang, there were multiple blocks—Chuserbu and Yontongla—which is why they took time to reach here,” Lhakpa Tshering said.

The blocks were cleared during their return journey.

According to sources, public transport buses were also stranded at both ends of the roadblock as of yesterday evening.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk