Pasakha-Manitar route: a vital lifeline

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Krishna Ghalley
from Phuentsholing

While the bailey bridge at Kamji couldn’t open for traffic for the seventh day yesterday, the Pasakha-Manitar bypass route has been serving as the only vital lifeline between Phuentsholing and Thimphu.
After the road was opened for traffic from 28 July, more than 2,000 vehicles use the route in a day. Many trucks and tankers carrying vegetables and fuel that had been stranded for several days were able to ply the road and reach Thimphu and other interior parts of the country. All the public transport buses also ply through the route currently.
The traffic police are constantly monitoring the vehicle movemnent to prevent congestion and traffic jam along the road. Hundreds of vehicles have to wait for hours to get through. The Department of Road (DoR) has deployed machineries to clear the roadblocks.
Light and medium vehicles are using the Bhalujora Bridge in Pasakha that was affected by the recent flood. Heavy vehicles meanwhile have to wade through the river.
The stretch of Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway at Kamji was washed away on July 24 due to incessant rainfall, virtually cutting off the capital from Phuentsholing, from where essential supplies are transported everyday.
The Chief Engineer of DoR, Dorji Wangdi, said that the department has been continuously monitoring the road since it opened for traffic. “Three machines and many laborers are deployed at the site, working long hours, to keep the road open,” he said. “The main block was cleared at 24.6 kilometer. The traffic will be stopped when the road is under maintenance,” he said.
Meanwhile, the construction of the bailey bridge at 22.5km point towards Kamji is on full swing. Road officials have confirmed that the bridge is almost complete. Around 50 army personnel have been helping the DANTAK since 27 July.
His Majesty the King also visited the site to inspect the progress of the bridge construction.
Meanwhile the armed forces, Desuups and volunteers are working on the banks of Amochhu and Dhoti khola to mitigate the risks posed by the two rivers.