All blocks expected to be cleared by this evening

Road: Incessant rainfall for the past couple of days has triggered several landslides causing roadblocks along the Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang highway since August 30.

According to Project Dantak officials, there were five roadblocks along the 36Km to 58Km stretch of the highway. Project Dantak name locations according to the distance of the site. 36Km and 58Km are the distances of block site on the highway from Samdrupjongkhar towards Trashigang.

Four of the roadblocks were cleared as of yesterday, but a major roadblock at 51Km, which is about 8km before reaching Narphung couldn’t be cleared despite working on it for the past three days.

Scores of vehicles were stranded with the traffic along the highway remaining closed from about 7am on August 30. Officer in Commanding (OC) of 63 RCC in Samdrupjongkhar, Chandan said they are expecting to clear the block by today evening.

“There are huge boulders blocking the highway at 51Km and it is not possible to clear the road by machines. The only way forward is through drilling and blasting,” the OC said.

He added that numerous landslides are occurring along the highway simultaneously. Excavators are already deployed at the block prone areas incase landslides happen again.

The sinking area located four km from Wamrong towards Samdrupjongkhar, further sank on August 30 because of heavy downpour. Project Dantak has cut a diversion just above the existing road to ease the stranded traffic.

Assistant engineer (AE) Pratap Singh said the area was sinking for quite sometime and they were trying to raise the road by filling soil and gravel for the past 10 days.

“Every day the area was sinking by about a foot. Raising of the road didn’t work as expected and the area sank to an extent that vehicles couldn’t climb through the road,” he said.

Meanwhile, after waiting for several hours yesterday, bus passengers were transshipped at 51Km.

Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang