English | Dzongkha Sunday, May 16, 2021

Skilled manpower shortage at Khuruthang-Bajo road widening project

Jan 25, 2021

The road widening work along the Khuruthang-Bajo National Secondary Highway is currently facing a shortage of skilled manpower and procurement of construction materials. Widening works are expected to be complete by July this year but it might get delayed due to the lockdowns. The work began in April last year.

The widening works are almost complete. Walls are being constructed along the road.

“We are planning to complete before July this year. Still, there is a high chance of delay due to the permanent structure works. However, we have already crushed the Granular Sub-base (GSB) and Wet Mix Macadam (WMM) materials,” said Birkha Bahadur Labar, the contractor.

And now it is time to install Hume pipes. But the project could not procure it due to the nationwide lockdown. More than 150 Hume pipes are required. The contractor also said that earlier, the works were going smoothly with around 50 workers. But many foreign workers left due to the pandemic.

“We will finish wall construction works within 20 days. We got delayed due to the labour shortage. Otherwise, wall construction would have been completed. So, I would say this road widening works would not impact if the Hume Pipes comes on time. Regarding cement, there was a problem earlier, but now we can get easily from Pasakha,” said the contractor.

He is also worried about the quality of Dense Bituminous Macadam (DBM) and Asphalt Pavement Installation works, as the present Bhutanese workers lack skills in these works.

And according to the Chief Engineer of the Department of Roads Regional Office in Lobesa, the work duration which was impacted by the lockdowns will be considered if required. About 60 per cent of the widening works have been completed so far.

Once it’s complete, the travel time between Wangdue and Punakha will reduce by almost 14 kilometres. The project is funded by the government at a cost of Nu 130 M.

Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang

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