The newly constructed roundabout in the heart of Trashigang town has drawn criticism from the users since its construction.

Residents and drivers claim the roundabout is located in a wrong place, as it is on a narrow slope that opens the road to the newly constructed parking lot.

Vehicles making a turn through the roundabout has to take a sharp turn, which appears as if the vehicle is going down causing confusion.

On March 27, a bolero pickup veered off a narrow wall a few metres from the roundabout. A vehicle coming from the opposite direction assumed the bolero was going downwards, but came forward.

The driver and passengers escaped with minor injuries.

“Luckily it was not a major accident. It could have been worst,” a resident said. “It is all because of the roundabout. We cannot say if the vehicle is going down or coming up as you make the turn. The authority concerned needs to fix this before a major accident occurs.”

A taxi driver, Tshering, said that the roundabout could have been constructed a few metres above the current location.

“It is risky for the vehicles making round,” he said. “Not all vehicles follow the roundabout rule which adds to the confusion.”

Officials from the dzongkhag municipality said that the roundabout was constructed as per the town’s master plan.

“The diameter of the roundabout was supposed to be around six metres as per the master plan but we have reduced it to two metres,” an official said.

The official said that the roundabout was tested using a heavy vehicle for convenience in the future. “However, what is right on the paper is not always practical.”

Although the municipality has not received any formal complaints about the roundabout, officials accepted that the location was inconvenient.

Officials said that given the expenditure incurred in the construction of the roundabout, relocating it would be expensive. “Instead, the office is looking into alternative measures that include widening one of the lanes that leads to the hospital,” an official said.

With the widening of the lane, vehicles would have larger space to make the turn once it makes the round from the roundabout. It would also allow the oncoming vehicles from the other side to see the vehicles entering the roundabout clearly.

Officials said that since the marking of the parking lot was not completed, they have not implemented the roundabout rule. “Once we complete that, we would hand it over to the traffic police. They would then monitor it.”

Municipal officials said that marking works could begin in the coming week. Along with it, the widening works of the lanes would also begin.

Traffic along the new parking lot was opened some two months ago.

The new parking lot, which has an underground parking provision, can accommodate around 70 to 75 vehicles.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang