The six-kilometre footpath stretching from Lungtenzampa to Babesa (Wangchu) will be completed by the end of September.

An engineer with Thimphu thromde, Sonam Namgay, said that the construction of the footpath is 80 percent complete.

He said the walkway was constructed because there was no way for people wanting to walk.

Footpath will also cater to motor cyclists and wheelchair users. “If there are steps then it wouldn’t be friendly to the differently-abled as we have to lift wheelchairs. We have footpath and slight slopes where anyone can walk.”

Tshultrim Dorji, a resident at Olakha, said that the pedestrian footpath is important and necessary, especially near highways. “Thimphu is crowded. Even if there is no footpath, we would have to walk along the road side. So, I feel safe walking along the footpath as it is meant for pedestrians.”

Sonam Namgay said that while working on the project, they found service cables and water pipelines along roadsides.

On the basis of cost sharing, Thimphu Thromde alng with stakeholders such as Bhutan Power Corporation, Tashi Cell, Bhutan Telecom and Department of Information Technology, decided on constructing a common cable duct under the footpath. The project started on May 29 last year and was to be completed by December 29. However, due to the additional work of constructing common duct for cables, the project tenure was extended this year.

The total cost of the project was Nu 63 million (M).

He said that while constructing the footpath, challenges such as service cables and water pipes lying underneath without inventories, less space in some areas where two metre wide footpath is required, drainage blockage in existing drains and water pipes of community lying everywhere were faced.

He said that while working on the developmental activities along the highway in the future, the workers would be aware of the cables in the common cable duct.  “It would occupy less space and we won’t have to dismantle the path.”

Thromde plans to construct common cable duct when a new footpath is built.

The project was funded by Government of India under Small Development Project II. The initial contract price was Nu 33M when the scope was to only construct footpath with drainage.

Rinchen Zangmo