Except for a four percent progress on the Jangtalumchhu bridge
With a work progress of 42 percent as of August this year, the Tanalungchhu Bridge at the Damchu-Chukha bypass road is expected to complete by June 2018 according to a report on works by Project DANTAK.
The 145-meter span bridge is one of the three bridges that comprise a major part of the Damchu-Chukha bypass road. The progress of the bridge was 41 percent in July.
Project DANTAK submits a progress report to the works and human settlement ministry every month. The ministry is yet to receive progress report for September.
Although Sirupa bridge was completed, another 75-meter span Jangtalumchhu bridge is still under construction and 77 percent of the works have been completed as of last month. The bridge is expected to complete by December this year. Work completed on the bridge was 73 percent in July.
However, in terms of progress on the road construction, the report showed that 107.63 percent of the formation cutting of Damchu – Chukha bypass has been completed while 92.06 percent of the surfacing works is completed.
The construction of the bypass road started in March 2010 and once completed, would reduce the length of Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway by 19.6km, almost an hour of travel time. The revised cost of the project is Nu 2,803.4 million.
Project DANTAK is also involved in the widening and improvement of the 180km Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang road, which began since 2007.
According to the progress report, formation cutting and surfacing work on 106km stretch has been completed. On the 39km road, 58.16 percent surfacing work has been completed after work began in March 2015. This is one percent up from July.
But the project is yet to plan and sanction the work on another 25km stretch of road.
Although, the project has completed three major permanent bridges along the Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang highway, only 29 percent of work on the Dungsamchhu Bridge is completed. The progress in July was also 29 percent.
A road official said that it is usually a trend in any construction for work progress to be low during monsoon. The pace picks up during dry season.
The costs of the bridges are directly met from India on General Security, which is outside the 11th Plan Government of India (GoI) commitment according to officials with the ministry. The widening work was initially targeted to complete by 2017, however, it spilled over to 12th Plan during the 5th plan talks between the two governments.
Project DANTAK is also working on the up-gradation of Trashigang-Yadi highway since 2015. The work was handed over to DANTAK after the third development cooperation talks on September 11, 2014. The work is estimated to cost Nu 1,340.34 million under GoI’s project tied assistance.
According to the report, 73.87 percent of formation cutting and 13.54 percent of surfacing work has been completed since the work began. The works are contracted out to two Bhutanese contractors for a duration of 18 and 12 months.
The project, an official said, has informed the ministry that works would be completed by June 2018. The ministry receives the fund, which is released to DANTAK as and when required.
On the Singyechhu bridge along the 33km Pasakha-Manitar road, Project DANTAK reported that work is still ongoing on load testing to assess suitability for traffic.
It reported a 79.25 percent of work progress as of August. The bridge is currently closed to traffic.
With 42.71 percent surfacing work and 76.13 percent formation cutting progress made, Project DANTAK is also working on the construction of Damchu-Haa bypass since 2015. The road would reduce travel distance between Haa and Phuentsholing by 29km.
Meanwhile, some of the major road constructions, which Project DANTAK has completed, include the double laning of 161.5km Phuentsholing -Thimphu highway, the double laning of Bondey-Drugyal Dzong road, and construction of 50-meter Damchu bridge along the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway.
Project DANTAK was raised on April 24, 1961 in Samdrupjongkhar under the command of Colonel T.V Jagannathan following the visit of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1958. The project has constructed over 1,600km of roads and 5,000 meters of permanent bridges during the last 50 years of its presence in Bhutan.
Apart from road constructions, Project DANTAK has also contributed in the construction of Sherubtse College complex, Paro International Airport, Bhutan Broadcasting Service complex, and advance landing ground at Yonphula.
Yangchen C Rinzin