Chimi Dema  | Dagana

In what would come as a relief to commuters along the Sunkosh-Dagapela highway, work to resurface the 44kms stretch of the road would begin soon.

Resurfacing the road would begin by this August after the monsoon, according to Department of Roads (DoR) officials.

Currently, resource mobilisation and construction of labour camps are underway, an Executive Engineer with Tsirang division of the DoR, Choeten Tshering said.

With the budget of Nu 104 million (M) for the project, the activity also includes blacktopping of five kilometres stretch from Dagapela to Baligang in Goshi gewog in Dagana.

The project would be carried out in three packages where two packages would be executed by Tsirang division and one by Dagana division.

Meanwhile, the condition of the highway between Sunkosh and Dagana has deteriorated in recent years, making journeys stressful for commuters.

Besides being narrow at several locations, the stretches in between are filled with potholes, cracks and sunken areas.

The issue was also discussed during the recent dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) in Dagana in March this year.

According to a DoR official, steep and narrow stretches would be widened while the main priority will be blacktop surfacing. “The resurfacing would be done in a mechanised manner, retaining a thickness of 30mm.”

The DT members also called for improving remaining 37km stretch of the highway from Baligang to Dagana Dzong given the poor condition and narrow stretches in between.

DT chairperson, Kana Gup Lhawang Dorji said that Dagana was identified as the least developed dzongkhag in the country. “In order to bring any socio-economic development in the dzongkhag, a good road network is important.”

For blacktop surfacing the road from Baligang to Dagana, an Executive Engineer with Dagana division of DoR Pema Choeda said that it was included in the annual activity plan.

The blacktopping work for five kilometres of road from Dagana dzong is underway, he said.  “And for another 10km stretch, the activity has been proposed for the next fiscal year’s activity plan.”

Tseza gup, Phurba said that if the improvement work was to begin, it is better to be done all the way through together instead of doing it separately.

During the last DT, the members have also decided to propose to the Parliament for the budget to blacktop remaining 20km stretch between Baligang and Dagana dzong.

It was learnt that the issue was raised several times during the past DTs. The DT members also wrote to the works and human settlement ministry in October last year about the issue.

In response, the ministry wrote back in January stating that the Sunkosh-Dagapela highway and also the road to Dagana would be blacktopped again on priority basis considering the condition of the road.

Going by the detailed project report (DPR) for the improvement works of the highway, the cost estimation of the road widening of the Sunkosh-Dagapela stretch was about Nu 700M, it stated. “But for the activity in the 12th Plan, only about Nu 100M was approved and on further discussion, the total budget of Nu 104.625M is approved,” the letter stated.