Chencho Dema | Punakha

Layap gewog is one of the few gewogs in the country that still does not have a motorable road connecting to the rest of the country. The construction of its GC road, which was supposed to be complete by 2022, is expected to take at least one more year.

Harsh weather conditions, fewer working months because of snowfall, and a monsoon that lasts from early March to late October are the main reasons for the delay.

Gasa senior planning officer Tashi Dhendup said that 82 percent of work on the Gasa-Laya GC road has been completed including the construction of gabion walls. “Work is on hold due to cold winter.”

Initially, the road was to end at Tongchudrak, a four-hour walk from Laya. Now the construction will stretch till Taktse Makha with an additional six km and will be carried out phase-wise.

In phase I, 3.1km of blacktopping was completed at the cost of Nu 14.5 million (M) starting from Gasa Dzong parking.

The scope of work has been changed in phase II to the laying of Granular sub-base (GSB) or Wet Mix Macadam (WMM) and not blacktop considering the terrain, climatic and weather factors along the Laya GC road stretch.

Phase II was completed with the construction of two slab bridges, laying of GSB (2km), drains(5km) and six numbers of Wing/RRM walls. The work commenced in March 2021.

In phase III, the road reached up to Tongchudrag (15.5km) with a total budget of Nu.45.49M (Million).

The total expenditure to date is Nu 63.653M for all three packages. The initial committed budget was Nu 72.5M for the 12th FYP.

Meanwhile, Tashi Dhendup said that the construction work from Tongchudrak to Taktse Makha for the remaining six km will be taken over by the Department of Roads (DoR).

According to the DoR Chief Engineer in Lobesa, Karma Tenzin the survey and the design have been done. The department is soliciting tendering. The government has allocated Nu 31.26M for the road and a bailey bridge construction. 

“The initial cutting will be finished by next year, but it might take two to three years for the Layaps or other commuters to be able to travel on the road comfortably,” the chief engineer said.

Right now, walking from the road point to Laya takes about eight hours. Officially, the trip to Laya takes two days.