The 3.7 kilometers bypass road construction in Ossey along the Gelephu-Trongsa Primary National Highway is expected to complete by mid-June this year.
According to the chief engineer, Sonam Tashi, of department of road (DoR), Sarpang dzongkhag and contractor of Eight Builders Pvt. Ltd Karma Tenzin, the road construction and improvement works could not be completed as was scheduled on 9 April.
Both the chief engineer and the contractor claimed that the work got delayed due to two national lockdowns.
Sonam Tashi said that works for the bypass road construction could not continue during the two national lockdown. To compensate, the chief engineer said that an additional 45 days was given as extension.
The contractor said, “Though the work was supposed to complete on 9th April almost 70-80 days were lost.” Karma Tenzin said that upon time lost during the lockdowns, the recent vaccination programs have also added to the delay.
Though they managed to procure materials, he pointed out that after lockdown it took additional time in remobilization of labourers. The contractor could not get both skilled and unskilled Bhutanese labourers. He said that though he applied for labourers from Build Bhutan Project he received none.
To compensate and makeup for the lost time, the contractor applied to the office of DoR for an additional 30-days extension.
The construction firm which employs 20 Bhutanese workers said that he is doing his best to complete the road construction by mid-June. He also added that once they pick up the nuances of the trade Bhutanese workers are much faster than imported labouers.
He pays Nu 700-850 for unskilled workers and Nu 900-1000 for skilled workers in a single day.
He said most of the construction works including installing hume pipe and construction of wall and drain are almost completed, and they are now left with little black topping and construction of two 4 meters bridges.
The construction of the Ossey bypass road re-alignment and improvement works started in April 2020. The Nu 70.249 million road construction is funded by the Government of India and is monitored by Sarpang DoR under Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.
Commuters are happy that with the construction of the bypass road the highway will remain open throughout the year and benefit public to ease their life.