Ugyen Dorji 

Mongar — The East-West highway widening that has stretched for the past nine years have missed the completion deadline once again. 

The work on 12.81 km Namling-Yonkola part of the road widening work worth Nu.142.08 Million, and expected to completed by 18 December 2023, has missed the deadline.

The construction company, Biky Construction Private Limited, has requested for an additional 80 days to complete the work.  

The widening of the Namling- Yongkola stretch began on 24 October 2021, but according to project engineer Jigme Dorji of the construction company, the monsoon completely washed away the base course and the landslide damaged the machine hindering the project’s progress.

In addition, the Nganglam cement factory was down and there was no cement supply for 15 days which affected the work progress, he said. 

About 80- 85 percent of work has been completed, including culvert, drainage, retaining wall, and granular sub-base (GSB), and only blacktopping works remained, Jigme Dorji said.

“Materials like bitumen, aggregates, and sand are ready on the site, and soon we will start blacktopping the road.”

Officials from the Department of Surface Transport (DoST) at Lingmethang, had reviewed the time extension request proposed by the contractor, and forwarded it to headquarters in Thimphu for approval. 

 According to officials the time extension for additional 43 days was found to be genuine, not 80 days as requested by the contractor.

 “The works will be delayed by one and half months and if the contractor fails to complete in the given time penalty could be imposed,” site engineer Subash Rai said.

  Subash Rai said if the work continued without machinery breakdown the 46 labourers engaged would completed it within 25 days.

 Meanwhile, it continued to irritate the commuters. Sangay, who was travelling from Thimphu to Trashigang said it took more than 30 minutes to pass the 12km stretch.

  The East-West highway widening work, which began in 2014 and was initially targeted to be completed in 2017, but is now expected to be completed in February 2024.