Slow going on Nganglam-Gyalpoizhing highway

A stretch full of rocks is holding up progress from one side

Roads: Although the completion deadline for the Nganglam-Gyalpoizhing highway has been revised to mid-2015, the project officials based in Nganglam said progress on a particular stretch from the Nganglam side has been very slow.

Officials said that this was because of rocks at the stretch that contains dolomite.

After the Department of Roads took over the work on the stretch last year, it has been able to do only about 150m of formation cutting.

Thinley Tenzin, project manager, said the formation cutting was completed within the span of six months after taking over from the contractor November last year, but 150m is too less in terms of performance.

“We should have completed about 400m of formation cutting by now,” he said, adding that work was delayed due to frequent machine breakdown. “We had to depend on 15 expatriate workers, since Bhutanese workers refuse to work at site because of risks involved,” said Thinley Tenzin.

Nu 8 million has been spent on this particular stretch of road.

Early monsoon has also affected the progress of work because the expatriates refuse to work in the rain.  Five Bhutanese workers are also stationed at the site.

As per the plan, the highway from Nganglam side was 42.6km, but it increased to 43.3km because of formation cutting through the rocky cliff.  The June deadline for the completion of formation cutting looks difficult, said officials.

The construction of the double-lane highway has been going on for last eight years.  It began from 2006.  As of now, a total of 42.6km has been completed from Nganglam side and 30.8km from Gyalpoizhing.

Gongrizomsa, located at the confluence of Kurichu and Drangmeychu, is the end part from Nganglam side.  There are about 12 bridges along the entire highway.

The project is estimated to cost Nu 1.82 billion.

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Nganglam

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