With heavy rain hitting the southern belt, the condition of the 16km-road from Phuentsholing to Pasakha has deteriorated raising concerns from industrialists.
The Bhalujhora Bridge has fallen down further across fault lines exacerbating the situation. The bridge which was being used by only light vehicles due to fragility issues is on verge of collapsing any time. Traffic police has been deployed to monitor vehicular movement along the bridge so that only a single light vehicle can ply on it at a time.
Meanwhile, heavy vehicles ferrying goods to and from the industries have been crossing the rivers above the bridge. This is also becoming increasingly difficult with the river swelling due to heavy rainfall.
Trucks are often stranded unable to cross the river to reach the industries.
Continuous rainfall over the week has washed away the temporary road used by truckers. The road was being used for two days a week. More than 200 vehicles used to ply on the road daily. “We have been stranded and unable to deliver the goods,” a trucker with Bhutan Ferro Alloys Limited, Yongba, said.
However, the Department of Roads (DOR) and industries have deployed three machineries to clear the blockades. “We don’t know when the road will be maintained permanently,” Tshering Samdrup, another trucker said.
The road at Bhawanijhora has also been washed away. Without a paved road, the loaded trucks are stranded on the mudslide where the pay loader assists them to cross.
Currently, DOR is also working at the Bawanijhora site.
The project office under South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity project has proposed for gabion walls along the river bank as an immediate mitigation measure. The river flowing through the bridge will also be diverted to the left bank to have minimal effect before the construction of a new bridge starts.
The project has already submitted the budget estimate to the head office at the works and human settlements ministry.
Meanwhile, a private construction company has started constructing gabion walls along the existing road which leads to the Pasakha Industrial Estate to protect assets. “It is expected to complete within two months,” SASEC’s Project Manager, Sonam Tobgay said.
SASEC is also planning to train the river at Bawanijhora while continuing dredging works at the site to prevent further flooding.
Meanwhile, three construction companies at Amochhu river diversion project are working non-stop to prevent flooding of the left bank where more than 50 businesses are located. The downpour over the past weeks has increased water level, threatening the recently constructed embankment walls. Amochhu River has destroyed about 50ft of gabion wall constructed by Rigsar Construction. The proprietor, Sherab, plans to reconstruct the wall within the next few days. He however said that the threat for flood is zeroed by the wall. “Despite reaching the maximum flow level, the river has not flooded. We are fully working on safety and the destroyed wall will be reconstructed.”
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing