Commuters are calling for the improvement and widening of the Monggar-Lhuentse Secondary National Highway. They are particularly concerned about the narrow stretch between Gangola and Lhuentse. Commuters say the 61-kilometre road increases the risk of accidents. The Department of Surface Transport’s Lingmethang Regional Office has completed surveys and drawn plans for widening the road. However, the department has yet to receive the budget from the government.
Currently, sections of the narrow Monggar-Lhuentse SNH lack proper drainage, leading to road damage during the rainy season.
Likewise, some residents living along the highway have said that certain areas of the road need resurfacing, even if widening is not done immediately. They added that dust from the road affects their crop production.
People said that having a smooth and wider road would not only reduce accident risks but also shorten travel distances.
‘‘For heavy vehicle drivers like us, it is convenient to drive through a wide road. The road in this area is a little inconvenient for us. For instance, when two heavy vehicles meet, we are not able to give way to the other vehicle. If the road is widened the people of Lhuentse and people like us will benefit,” said Karma Wangdi, a commuter.
‘‘All the drivers will benefit if the road is widened. We face difficulty in giving way when the road is narrow,’’ said Dorji Penjor, another commuter.
‘‘I am travelling for the first time on this road. Just after entering from Gangola, the road is too narrow. Forget about heavy vehicles, small vehicles face difficulty in finding a side,’’ said Tshewang Gyeltshen, also a commuter.
Meanwhile, the surface transport department says it has plans to carry out the widening work in the 13th Five-Year Plan. However, it has yet to receive the budget.
“In the 13th plan, we have prepared the estimate as per the instructions of the department with detailed drawings and design. Now, everything is ready for implementation, but we are waiting for the budget to be released from the ministry or the government,’’ said Kinzang Dorji, the chief engineer of Lingmethang Regional Office.
The department has estimated a budget of Nu 2.5bn for widening the Gangola to Lhuentse National Secondary Highway. This amount excludes the construction costs for the five Bailey bridges along the highway.
Karma Wangdi, Monggar
Edited by Sonam Pem