Neten Dorji | Kanglung

Commuters celebrated as the long-awaited widening work on the Trashigang– Samdrupjongkhar highway’s Moshi-Tshelingkhor road stretch was completed.

Travellers noted a 30-minute reduction in travel time and expressed happiness with the improved driving experience.

“It used to take more than an hour to cover this 10-kilometre stretch, but now it’s down to about 20 minutes,” said Tashi, a driver who frequently uses the route.

During the summer, this section of the highway is prone to blockages caused by falling boulders, leaving travellers stranded for weeks.

A cab driver said that only a small portion of the stretch remains to be blacktopped. “We had to carry out frequent repairs in the past due to the poor road conditions, which often resulted in breakdowns.”

Officials from Project DANTAK confirmed the successful completion of the widening work along the stretch.

“We now have just 10 kilometres left to be blacktopped. We hope to complete the task very soon,” said the project’s spokesperson.

Initiated in 2007, the project faced numerous delays due to challenging terrain, adverse weather conditions, and a shortage of manpower, construction materials, and equipment.

“Due to the nature of the work, we executed it in stages to minimise disruptions to commuters. Completing it all at once would have posed difficulties for travellers,” said another official involved in the project.

Presently, the project team is engaged in road maintenance activities and the installation of safety measures along the highway.

The protracted progress of widening and blacktopping the highway was frequently discussed in the National Council, reflecting concerns about the extended timeline and associated inconveniences.

Over 400 Bhutanese individuals are employed in the project.