Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing
Phuentsholing would face severe traffic congestion at this time of the year usually but the completion of Northern Bypass Road (NBR) Package-I by the end of January this year brought some changes.
NBR-I is a two km four-lane road that starts from the second gate and completes near the crocodile park. It includes an underpass near the Omchhu bridge.
The project is one of the focus areas of SASEC.
A budget of Nu 198 million (M) has been invested in the road construction with 81 percent of the project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as grant and the remaining 19 percent by the government.
NBR project coordinator, Devi Charan Dhimal, said Phuentsholing thromde has taken over the project.
“It has already eased the traffic,” he said, adding that all the heavy vehicles are diverted through the road. “It has been mainly earmarked to divert heavy vehicles.”
Light vehicles are also allowed to ply.
Along with the subway, NBR-I is developed with a proper footpath, streetlights and utility duct for inserting telecom and power cables as required.
Devi Charan Dhimal also said that the mini dry port that connects to NBR-I helps in easing in traffic congestion. All clearing works from the old customs office has been shifted to the dry port, which has stopped the entry of heavy trucks and trailers into the core town.
NBR-I is also first of its kind in the country.
A Japanese company, M/s Marushin Shitaka Construction Company Limited and local firm, M/s Rigsar Construction Private Limited, completed the work on a joint venture partnership.
A Phuentsholing resident, Sonam, said it was good to see such projects in Phuentsholing.
“Phuentsholing should be attractive in many ways because it is the town that welcomes visitors.”
Although the project started in September 2017 and expected to complete by August 2019, it was delayed, as the project had to wait about 11 long months to negotiate a private land. Then monsoons also delayed the project.
Meanwhile, this first package will now link the NBR Package-II, which is under construction today.
NBR-II is a 650ms four-lane road that includes a 120ms curvy-linear four-lane prestressed girder bridge and would be first of its kind in the country. It was supposed to be completed end of this month but 2019 monsoon severely affected the project and had pushed the deadline.
Devi Charan Dhimal said the project would be fully completed by October this year. “But bridge concreting works would complete by May. More than 70 percent of the work has been completed.”
NBR-II is a Nu 246M project.
After completion, it will connect the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway at the RBA curve. At the curve, a 30ms roundabout would be constructed.
Heavy vehicles heading to Thimphu and Pasakha industrial estate will not have to enter into the town after the project is complete. NBR-II is also a SASEC component.