Infrastructure: Two of the three South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) project components with Phuentsholing thromde are finally advancing.

After several years of dialogue and land disputes, the planned mini dry port project was recently tendered out.

Once in place, cargo and other commercial vehicles will have to route through the dry port. This will prevent the vehicles from entering the core town area, which currently experiences snarling traffic jams as a result.

The second component of the SASEC project is a 2.66km bypass that will connect Bau Bazaar in Jaigaon and the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway around the RBA camp area. This bypass will pass through the mini dry port.

The bypass and the dry port are expected to significantly ease traffic congestion in the two border towns.

The thromde’s project coordinator DC Dhimal said that a report on the planned bypass has been submitted to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a response is awaited.

The ADB is funding the project with a commitment of USD 12.95 million.

The bypass will cross the Omchhu at two points where two bridges will be constructed. A 120m pre-stage curvilinear bridge will connect the road to the highway in the RBA camp area.

While construction of a bridge at the confluence of the Omchhu and Amochhu began last year, work has stalled.

A Nepal based construction company discontinued constructing the 46m span girder bridge over the Omchhu this year after bridge specifications had to be altered.

When the redesign of the bridge was finalised, the contracting firm could not bear the new costs and pulled out. The project will be retendered.

The only component that has not seen any development is the land customs station (LCS) component as it is linked to Pasakha access road project.

The access road project, which is under the roads department, has to reclaim land to construct the LCS.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing