Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue    

Despite the two nationwide lockdowns and issues related to shortage of construction materials, the Wangdue-Khuruthang road is expected to be completed on time.

This is given that the required number of hume pipes at site be procured within a month’s time. Hume pipes are used for sewerage, drainage, culverts, irrigation water supply and for service lines. 

The widening of the secondary national highway began in May last year. The Department of Roads (DoR) tendered the works in two packages. Package one includes road widening and blacktopping from Bajo, Wangdue, and the second package up to Khuruthang, Punakha.

Both the packages are being executed by Biky Construction Private Limited. 

Chief Engineer with the DoR regional office in Lobesa, Karma Tenzin, said that the department had been trying to import hume pipes. “The delay depends on the hume tubes procurement. There won’t be significant delay.”

On the 8.6km stretch, there are 47 locations that need hume pipes. 

Package one of the project is expected to be completed by July 31 and package two by June 30 this year.

With easing of lock down restrictions, work has resumed at site. Ninety-nine percent of cutting works have been completed. 

Stacking of materials for granular sub-base (GSB), wet mixed macadam (WMM), dense bitumen macadam (DBM), and asphalt concrete (AC) were also done, said proprietor Birkha Bhadur of Biky Construction Pvt Ltd. 

Blacktopping works are expected to begin in April. “If there are no lockdowns, we have assured the DoR that we will complete the work before time,” Birkha Bhadur said. 

The 8.6km stretch secondary national highway is almost 10km shorter than the route from Lobesa, Punakha. 

Due to the poor road condition, the widening work came as relief to most commuters.

Taxi driver in Punakha, Kuenzang Thinley, said that said the widened and blacktopped road would benefit commuters. 

It takes 30 minutes less to travel from the 8.6km route than from Lobesa. 

“We charge Nu 150 when travelling from Lobesa and Nu 100 when taking the shorter route,” Kuenzang Thinley.