Connectivity: The road at Kamji, which is 22.4km from Phuentsholing on the highway to Thimphu has been restored and is now open to traffic, including heavy vehicles.

Works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden, and the Indian ambassador to Bhutan, Jaideep Sarkar, inaugurated the road in the presence of Project DANTAK officials and other dignitaries yesterday.

Thanking all agencies and those involved directly or indirectly in the restoration of the road and construction of the earlier double-double bailey bridge, Project DANTAK chief engineer PKG Mishra said that the road has been restored on time.

“In October, the Mangdechhu hydropower project asked to open the road before February 19 so that they can induct heavier equipment,” PKG Mishra said, adding that he was happy to say it has been completed on time. “It is a very satisfying moment.”

It was in July 24 last year when more than a 100-foot stretch of the road was washed away by a landslide caused by incessant rainfall for several days. Project DANTAK then connected the highway with a 160-foot double-double bailey bridge.

Although light and medium vehicles were allowed to use the bridge, due to its lower carrying capacity, heavy vehicles carrying heavy equipment had to use the Pasakha bypass. However, heavy equipment required by the Mangdechhu project could not be transported because the carrying capacity of the Singye bridge in Pasakha was not enough.

With the bailey bridge in place, Project DANTAK continued road restoration work and constructed a wall required to build the road. It was announced recently that the bridge would be disassembled and removed as the road had been completed.

Addressing those gathered for the event, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that 2016 had not been a good year for roads and bridges in the country.

“I want to congratulate and thank all the men and women of Project DANTAK who worked very hard to bring this damaged road back to its original form,” she said.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden pointed out that the Kamji road is “very important in Bhutan.” The road is a lifeline not only for Thimphu; it is also lifeline for all places beyond.

Ambassador Jaideep Sarkar congratulated both the teams from Bhutan and India for the road’s reopening. “It is in times of disaster that brings out the best in the people,” the ambassador said.

The ambassador pointed out that the Kamji road is an example of the two sides coming together for a noble cause.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing