Yangyel Lhaden 

Starting from the fuel depot in Lungtenzampa to the Chubachu junction, the footpath on the left in front of the shops will be designated for benches, tables surrounded by chairs, and some patio umbrellas. Flowering plants, lamp posts, and trees will be placed beside the parallel parking area on the single-lane road.

This is the redeveloped Norzin Lam that Thimphu Thromde expects to complete by the end of next year as a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare.

Streetscaping is a part of the bigger project the thromde is working on. The thromde is gearing up to solve the sewer and drainage issues Norzin Lam faces, especially during summer. Service ducts will also be laid underground.

Thimphu Thromde’s Chief Urban Planner, Thinley Norbu, said that the sewer and drainage systems along Norzin Lam were designed in the 1990s, and it is critically important to revamp them for today’s needs. “The new design for sewers and drainage will sustain us for at least the next 50 years.”

He said that since the thromde couldn’t execute the pedestrianisation of Norzin Lam according to the Thimphu Structural Plan due to concerns from residents, the thromde came up with the new plan. “We followed a middle path where both parties, the thromde and public, benefit.”

The new plan focuses on creating more space on the left side of Norzin Lam for footpaths by converting the 45-degree parking area to 90 degrees, or parallel parking. Thinley Norbu said the new footpath would be friendly for persons with disabilities. “The alignment of parking will be changed, as it provides more space for footpaths and beautification along the footpath.”

Thimphu Thromde presented the new plan to redevelop Norzin Lam to about 15 representatives from Norzin Lam. An official with Thimphu Thromde said that residents were more enthused about the new plan and representatives signed clearance for the project.

He said that although the thromde planned to execute the project by November to complete it within one year, they became aware of challenges they might face once they dug into unplanned activities from the past. “We will carry out the project in a holistic manner by taking care of shopkeepers, as Norzin Lam residents have given the thromde space for redevelopment.”

An official with Thimphu Thromde said the thromde would work extra hours and at night to expedite the work, as it was important to complete the work as quickly as possible because Norzin Lam is the main thoroughfare. “The longest the project will take to complete is one year. We plan to finish earlier than the set deadline.”

Thinley Norbu said they did not plan to dig up the whole stretch of Norzin Lam at once, but focus on a small stretch, for example, 100 metres at a time, for minimal impact.

Thimphu Thromde will execute the redevelopment project of Norzin Lam in collaboration with Construction Development Corporation Limited.

Edited by Tshering Palden