Almost two weeks after continuous rain blocked roads throughout the country, 13 gewog centre (GC) roads still remain impassable.

Officials from Department of Roads (DoRs) say most of the blocks would take more than a week to clear. In some cases, it is not sure how long it would take to clear the roads.

According to the gewog road condition report as of July 18 with the works and human settlement ministry, most of the roadblocks occurred due to landslides from the continuous rainfall, swollen rivers and falling boulders.

It states that man and machinery have been deployed in the blocked areas. “Despite deploying excavators and backhoes, roads in Bongo, Getana and Phuentsholing are still closed since July 10 and are likely to remain close for a week,” the report stated.

Although there are no major blocks of GC roads in Dagana except at Dorona gewog, the road has remained closed following landslides.  The report states that it is still not confirmed when the roads would be opened to traffic.

The report also states that with landslides and boulders falling at various locations at Khoma gewog in Lhuntse since July 17, it would take about three days to clear the road. In Kurtoe gewog, road’s formation width has sunk in an area since July 10 and it would take about 10 days to clear the road.

In Mongar, Khengkhar GC road has been closed to traffic since July 16. In Pemagatshel, landslides washed away Chongshing GC road’s formation width in an area since July 1. Road officials say it would take about a week to open the road for traffic.

The report states that an excavator would be deployed once the rain stops since the villagers could use alternate routes.

With rivers swollen at Chuzargang, Umling, Tareythang, Dovan and Singye gewogs in Sarpang, the roads are closed to traffic since July 7. It is not sure when the roads would open.

Since July 9, the Manitar-Raidak-Lhamoizingkha highway has remained blocked due to landslides.

The road condition report states that it would likely take more than a week to clear and open the traffic. Backhoe and an excavator have been deployed at the site.

Landslides and shooting boulders have also been reported at various locations along the Gyalpozhing-Nganglam highway since July 11. The clearing would take more than 10 days.

Although the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway was cleared, there was a report of roadblock again on July 13.

Meanwhile, DoR engineer Dhan Raj Chhetri said they have formed a group in WeChat, where the concerned focal person from nine regional offices sends the report on road conditions every morning. “We also update as and when the blocks are cleared after we receive the information.”

He also said that blocks along the highways are informed through the newly launched Bhutan Safety App.

Yangchen C Rinzin