DoR projects Nu 187 m for monsoon restoration

Vehicles stranded due to road block at Gyalpozhing-Gongrizomsa PNH  (Pic : DoR)

KARMA CHIMI

Thimphu

The Department of Road (DoR) has projected Nu 187 million for monsoon restoration. This is in regard to the roads damaged by the ensuing monsoon. 

For the fiscal year (FY) 2021-2022, a total of Nu 34.70 million was incurred by the DoR for emergency restoration (slip clearance) of the national highways during the monsoon season.

A total of Nu 152.05 million was spent on permanent restoration measures including reconstruction of structures and excavation of new alignments for the post monsoon. 

Officials from the DoR said, “Since the budget is limited and has to be shared among all the highways in Bhutan, places where damages are massive are recorded and prioritised.”

As per the DoR, for the FY 2021-22, there were a total of 649 rock blockage instances triggered by landslides and floods. 

They added that the major damages in the current monsoon season include a bailey bridge being washed away on Dewathang-Samrang Secondary National Highway (SNH), and Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) bridge partly damaged on Linzin-Tsenkari Primary National Highway (PNH).

Among other notable damages, culverts were submerged at Rinchending-Pasakha-Manitar PNH while a temporary bypass bridge washed away on Jyenkana-Woezergang SNH, including one Bailey bridge on Lhuentse-Dungkhar road.

The damages after the monsoon season are assessed and categorised based on the criticality. The three categories include P1-where traffic can’t flow without restoration, P2-risky traffic flow without restoration and P3- where there is a probability of further damages to the road without restoration.

“The budget is then distributed depending on the severity of the damages and the approved restoration works are carried out. In most of the years there is no adequate budget left to implement P3 activities,” officials stated. 

Project DANTAK said that the monsoon season during the year 2022 witnessed various challenges in the eastern part of the country. Hence, the Director General of Border Road Organisation recently enhanced the ceiling limit of Project DANTAK by one and half times to execute works at a faster pace to address monsoon damages.

The organisation is in the process of collaborating with Green Bhutan Corporation Limited (GBCL) to find, mutual, long-lasting and green initiative solutions to the landslide prone areas.

“New and latest technologies must be incorporated in gaining better prediction and warnings about the floods and rainfall during monsoon,” DANTAK officials said.

DoR also stated that the allocated budget for road resurfacing and improvement in FY 2020-21 was Nu 3.1 billion which included road widening works, new construction, black topping and resurfacing.

Meanwhile, budgetary funding for the road sector increased to Nu 8,979,609 million in the FY 2022-23 compared to Nu 4,225.975 million in the 2020-21 FY.