Over Nu 800,000 is spent in a month to clear the road at box cut every monsoon season

Nima | Gelephu

Gelephu-Trongsa primary national highway connects the future commercial hub to the central and western dzongkhags, but a frequent roadblocks at box cut has become have become a major problem on the highway.

The government has been spending over Nu 800,000 a month during monsoon months to keep the traffic open.

The site supervisor with DoR, Sonam Tobgay, has been working at box cut for the past two years.

“The situation of road has become worse this time. The main problem is the sinking of the base. We have to excavate new heights. It’s a challenging, but it’s important that we keep the road open to traffic,” he said.

Pema Dorji, a trucker from Gelephu, said: “We have to wait for three hours at least. It would be better if we could explore other bypass roads.”

Box cutting is over 15 kilometres away from Gelephu town and the stretch reports roadblocks almost every day.

The highway, which connects Zhemgang and Trongsa with Sarpang, gets blocked at Aieslip, Ossey and box cut.

However, there were not many reports of roadblocks at Ossey and Aieslip this time, according to the commuters.

“The government spends over Nu 2 million every year to clear the blocks,” a DoR official said.

Assistant engineer with DoR in Sarpang, Samdrup Tshering, said that it was difficult to keep the traffic open. “We are expecting a shorter monsoon season this time.”

He added that a geological assessment is underway at the site. Until then, the department will have to keep clearing the roadblocks.

“We are focusing on keeping the road open most of the time,” said Samdrup Tshering.

Officials said that the heavy precipitation and increase in surface water during the monsoon are the main causes of landslides at box cut.