Department of Roads (DoR) officials said that failure to conduct an in-depth study of the soil before the construction of roads, road widening activities, and heavy rainfall were among the causes leading to numerous roadblocks in the country.

Studying the land and soil status before the construction of a road can provide to the quality and the durability of the road, the DoR officials said.

Executive engineer with DoR, Ugyen Dorji, however, said that the study process of the land would be time consuming. “The east-west highway widening project didn’t conduct the study and there are only a few who do it.”

The road quality and durability are also affected by the number of vehicle plying the road, Ugyen Dorji said.

DoR’s chief engineer in Trongsa, Taugay Choeda, said that the road widening work with the rain has caused more blocks in the country this year. “Although there are many blocks in the country, only a few are badly damaged.”

The finance ministry approves Nu 3 million for the maintenance of the roads every year. The budget is used for white washing of the walls, maintenance of the drains and cleaning of the walls along the roads, among others.

Taugay Choeda said that the nine regional offices apply for budget to work on the resurfacing of roads separately. “We ask for about Nu 50 million. However, we receive only about Nu 12 million. The budget covers about 40km for resurfacing work,” he added.

DoR held the quarterly meeting at Thimphu last week. The meeting developed work plan for the year 2017 and 2018 and also discussed the progress of the road construction in the country today.

Ugyen Dorji said that Trongsa showed minimum progress with the road construction and maintenance.

He said that often times the contractors do not work according the contracts. “If a work needs the contractor to have five machines, the contractors bring only two.”

Taugay Choeda said that the contractors should fulfil the requirements through e-tool that includes having a certain number of workers and machines among others. “After the process, we give the contract to the contractor who quote the least amount for construction of the road.”

He added that the contractors who quote the least usually do not have a well-setup office, machine and workers, which affect the work progress. “There are a few contractors who might be able to complete the work, but there are also those who are incapable to handle the work.”

Phurpa Lhamo