English | Dzongkha Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Punakha-Gasa Secondary National Highway- some parts yet to be blacktopped

Nov 9, 2019

Travelling between Punakha and Gasa still remains a bumpy ride with several kilometres of the highway yet to be blacktopped. More than nine kilometres of the Punakha-Gasa Secondary National Highway still remains unpaved. And locals claim this is inconvenient as well as dangerous for travellers.

The unpaved road starts right from Gasa Dzong, and goes on till Kabisa in Punakha. Around eight kilometres falls within Gasa, while around one kilometre is in Punakha.

The stretch of road is not only in need of blacktopping, but people say it has now also become filled with potholes. And because of the high altitude, travellers say driving along that stretch of road is not only inconvenient but also risky.

“When it rains, the unpaved road becomes muddy and slippery. All the dirt gets splashed on the luggage as well as on people passing by. The road near the Gasa dzong is the worst, it is not only unpaved, but it has several potholes as well. This is not only inconvenient for travellers, but there are also high chances of accidents happening especially with the snow and ice in winter,” said Sangay Wangdi, a Taxi Driver.

Meanwhile, officials from the Department of Roads say they have already tendered works to blacktop around five kilometres with a budget of Nu 15 M.  The remaining stretch of road will be worked on in the next phase. This they say is due to budget constraints.

However, officials added certain parts of the road totalling to around one and a half kilometres cannot be blacktopped as they have been found to be unstable.

“We have left out certain areas due to climatic condition and by the location itself. There is a place where every year a flash flood happens. I think that the area around 400 meters have been left out without blacktop because every year due to flash flood the whole road gets submerged and all the debris falls on that road,” said Karma Tenzin, the Chief Engineer of Department of Roads Regional Office.

Officials say although they receive several complaints and are aware of the issue; there is nothing much that can be done on those areas of the road. They are however observing some of the areas.

Punakha-Gasa Secondary National Highway is about eighty kilometres long.

Changa Dorji

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