Major breakthrough in Damchu-Chukha bypass

Seven years on and after missing four deadlines, the Damchu-Chukha bypass has made a major breakthrough.

The 900metre (m) rock cutting at the Chukha end of the 29.2km Damchu-Chukha bypass is now complete.

During a site visit made by the works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden yesterday, Project DANTAK officials showed the cutting over the rocky cliff area and drove through it.

Although it was not an official opening, Project DANTAK officials confirmed that with completion of the rock cutting, all the roads are now connected.

Project DANTAK chief engineer Brigadier PKG Mishra informed the works and human settlement officials that there is nothing left in terms of connecting the roads.

“Only minor improvement work is left, which we are working out,” Project DANTAK commander N Chaudhary said.

At Jangthalumchhu: A Project DANTAK official explains the progress to MoWHS minister Dorji Choden

However, two out of three bridges that comprise a major part of the Damchu-Chukha bypass road are yet to be completed.

One bridge is located at the Jangthalumchhu. It is a 75m bridge at 11.70km point towards Chukha from Damchu. About 70 percent of the work has been completed.

Project DANTAK officials said that the Jangthalumchhu Bridge would be completed by November this year.

However, it is the 145m Bridge over the Tanalungchhu at 8.45km point that is likely to take time to complete. It has completed 40 percent of the works so far.

“Construction of this bridge will be complete in June 2018,” Project DANTAK chief engineer PKG Mishra, said, adding that the approach roads would be in place by July 2018.

Explaining to the minister, PKG Mishra said that there were several slides at the bridge area, which took about two months to clear. PKG Mishra said that the bypass would have been completed if the bridges were completed.

Following the visit, MoWHS secretary Phuntsho Wangdi said that with the road formation cutting at the Chukha end over, other work such as widening, drains, and blacktopping remained. “However, the two bridges are the most important part left to cover now,” the secretary said.

If Project DANTAK places construction materials and labourers as they are doing currently, Phuntsho Wangdi said that the work would completed on time by June 2018.

“Otherwise, it may not complete,” he said. “This bypass is doable by June 2018.”

Meanwhile, the 29.2km Damchu-Chukha bypass road construction started on March 19, 2010. In the last meet the press, the government announced that the road would complete by June next year.

The bypass, once complete, would reduce the Thimphu-Phuentsholing distance by 19.5km. More than an hour of travel time will be reduced.

The revised cost of the project is Nu 2,803.4 million. After missing this year’s June deadline, Project DANTAK has assured that it would complete the bypass by June 2018.

Rajesh Rai | Tsimasham

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