But it will first focus on repairing water leakages that cause potholes

Road: Driving along the roads in Thimphu city could be compared to riding a roller coaster. All drivers manoeuvre to save themselves and their cars from falling victim to the many potholes that pockmark the city’s roads.

Besides the potholes, concrete slabs that cover drains are also missing in many areas and threatening not only vehicles but pedestrians as well.

The problem is more prevalent in Olakha and Babesa, where almost half of the city’s population resides.

Drivers say such road conditions are risky, especially for people visiting these places for the first time and during the nights.

This, however, is expected to improve as Thimphu Thromde officials claim they are repairing the roads in the city.

Thimphu Thromde’s executive engineer of the road and bridge section, Jangchuk Choden, said a team is already deployed to repair the potholes.

She said the project would cover Babesa-Olakha, Jungzhina-Kawangjangsa, Changzamtok and Motithang-Changangkha. The project is expected to begin soon.

A team from the thromde’s water and road division is already in the field correcting the sewerage and water leakages. “Water flow over the roads actually caused the potholes,” Jangchuk Choden said, adding, that these leakages are being fixed first before filling up the potholes.

Road users are, however, unhappy with the road conditions and claim the thromde is not doing enough.

A resident in Olakha said the road behind the old election commission’s building has become worse with deep and large potholes forming. “We drive through the same road everyday since no one is repairing it,” he said.

Another resident said the concrete slabs that were covering drains across the roads have disappeared leaving huge holes and openings. “Nothing has happened till date but some fatal accidents could happen if the road conditions remain the same for long,” he said.

Pema Choden said she wonders whose responsibility it is to repair the road, as no one is doing anything. “If some cars get damaged falling into these holes who would be responsible?” she questioned, adding “Sometimes the roads are dug and never repaired for months.”

A Babesa resident, Tashi, said many people use the roads and it is very important that they should be maintained and kept safe. “Even people could fall in to these holes and suffer serious injuries.”

He said he saw drivers applying brakes suddenly and reversing their cars to avoid these uncovered drains and potholes.

Another resident said he heard that some people are breaking the concrete slabs put over the drain to take the rods inside to sell. “Some slabs are not properly arranged and look dangerous for the vehicles.”

He also said a slight distraction could damage cars or cause accidents.

A corporate employee, Tempa, said the roads in Olakha are left out as if it doesn’t fall under the thromde. “They are completely neglected and dangerous for children and elderly people who walk.” He said people might end up breaking their legs or dying.

He also said potholes beneath the bridge before reaching the Olakha workshop from Thimphu are dangerous and there are dangers of vehicles colliding while attempting to dodge the potholes.

Another resident alleged that Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) and Bhutan Telecom (BT) dig up the roads but never repair them properly. “The other reason why drain covers are broken and potholes dug are due to the trucks carrying construction materials,” he said.  “Water flow over the roads in summer due to poor drainage system also destroys the bitumen”.

He pointed out that the stretch of road before reaching the Tsendhenshing in Changzamtok from State Trading Corporation of Bhutan office as an example. “There are deep potholes filled with muddy water and the vehicles have to wait for each other from either side,” he said.

The thromde’s deputy executive engineer, Ngawang Tashi said the thromde usually repaired the roads which BPC and BT dig up for some installation works with prior permission from the thromde. “What people are pointing out must be the ones that people illegally dug,” he said.

He also said the thromde has rules in place to deal with those who dig roads illegally.

Nima Wangdi