Update: Engineers of the Department of Roads (DoR) are in the field round the clock to monitor the road conditions and carry out clearing and restoration projects.

According to a report on road conditions from the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS), three teams of engineers from the DoR headquarters have been deployed to Trongsa, Sarpang and Gedu.

The engineers are working on the alternate route from Tala–Manitar–Pasakha-Phuentsholing and route towards Lhamoizingkha.

Despite incessant rainfall, armed forces personnel, DeSuups, Dantak and volunteers have managed to keep most of the roads open to traffic.

According to the MoWHS, construction of temporary Bailey bridge at Kamji area is still going on.

The Phuensholing-Thimphu highway, which was blocked for two days, opened to traffic Wednesday evening from the Pasakha-Manitar-Tala side.

The Gelephu-Wangdue highway, which was blocked at the Sarpang bazaar, was expected to open the road to traffic by evening yesterday. Flashfloods have completely washed 250 metres of the road formation width.

DoR engineers yesterday deployed excavator and started cutting the hillside near the old workshop area in the Sarpang bazaar. Efforts were made to divert the Sarpangchhu and clearing the blocks in the dzongkhag.

The Gelephu-Trongsa highway remains blocked at Dzongkhalum. The Dzongkhalum bridge is severely damaged and the ministry and department is exploring alternatives to a launch temporary Bailey bridge from the parts available with DoR.

Construction of the Bailey bridge will start only after falling boulders and slides settles.

As of yesterday, the Nganglam–Panbang and the Tintibi–Gomphu roads were blocked at many places. In some stretches, road formations have been washed away and it will take sometime to restore them.

The north east-west highway was open to traffic yesterday although minor landslides occur that are being cleared. Men and machinery have been deployed at various points to clear blockages.

In an earlier interview, works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden said that restoration projects would be easier once the water level recedes. “Efforts are in full swing to clear all the blocks,” she said.

Several major gewog centre blocks have also been reported.

In Chukha, the four gewog centre roads of Bongo, Dungna, Phuntsholing, Logchina have been blocked. Dorona and Largyab gewog centre roads in Dagana have also been blocked.

The hardest hit dzongkhag is Pemagatshel in terms of the number of gewog centre roadblocks with six gewogs reporting the blocks. Chimung, Chongshing, Chokorling, Decheling, Khar, Yurung gewog centre roads were blocked.

Similarly, Jurmi and Kengkhargewog centre roads are blocked in Mongar. Lauri in Samdrupjongkhar, Dopuchen in Samtse, Dovan in Samtse, Korphu in Trongsa and Barshong in Tsirang reported gewog centre roadblocks.

In Trashigang, Lumang, Thrimshing and Kangpar gewogs suffered gewog centre roadblocks, and Bjoka, Nangkor, Shingkhar and Bardo in Zhemgang reported the same.

The ministry has requested the general public to check ministry website and Bhutan Road Safety’s mobile app for up-to-date information.

Meanwhile, the Department of Hydro-met Services has predicted medium to heavy rainfall from today in most parts of eastern and southern Bhutan. Officials and people have been asked to stay alert and keep a close watch on water levels.

Forecast show that heavy rains will continue at least until the end of August.

MB Subba