Samtse-Phuentsholing highway maintenance to start next month

The Department of Roads (DOR) is expected to repair and maintain the Samtse-Phuentsholing highway as the road desperately needs restoration. The last resurfacing was done seven years back. However, DOR had been carrying out some minor maintenance works.

Citing budget deficit, DOR was unable to execute the work earlier. Though the road from the Amochhu Bridge till Halhaley, a tri-junction to Dorokha and Samtse is blacktopped, the road from Halhaley till Samtse is at its worst. The 25-km road is now potholed and the drainage system has also been destroyed. At some points the road is eroded making it narrow.

But now DOR had proposed a budget of Nu 97mn for the maintenance of the road to be carried out this year including restoration and drainage works. “But without enough budget, the works are downsized to most important works,” he said.

DOR then proposed revised estimates of Nu 47mn. “If it is approved, we will start rectification of very critical areas,” he said.

The works will be contracted and will start by September end, said Dorji Wangdi. “The critical works will be carried out immediately after receiving the budget.”

The road factor has compelled the commuters of Dorokha to travel to Phuentsholing for weekly shopping. The road is well paved until the Amochhu bridge.  The commuters love to use the road. Boleros ply the road skipping potholed roads to Samtse. “We would be happy to see the road. It will help us especially during emergencies,” said Nar Bdr Rai from Syengdhen.

Meanwhile, residents along the roads are said to be suffering. Some shops from Halhaley to Samtse are also struggling. Lal Maya Gurung sees few customers in her shop. “It could be due to the opening of the new highway. But if the road is maintained, people would travel on this road too,” said the 36-year-old shopkeeper.

Despite people using new highway, the road is used by people of more than three gewogs to visit dzongkhag headquarters for official works. The construction of the road from Halhaley to Dorokha  started last year.

Krishna Ghalley from Samtse