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The roadblock at Box-cut along the Gelephu-Trongsa highway was cleared on July 13. DoR officials say the road is likely to be blocked again (Photo: DoR, Sarpang)
The roadblock at Box-cut along the Gelephu-Trongsa highway was cleared on July 13. DoR officials say the road is likely to be blocked again (Photo: DoR, Sarpang)

23 highways blocked in central and eastern Bhutan

Monsoon this year has not only disrupted road transportation but also hit domestic air services in the country.

Flight cancellations due to bad weather are reported from all three domestic airports. Gelephu airport reported a last minute cancellation following unfavourable weather condition yesterday. The airport recorded five cancellations so far.

No flight has landed at the Yonphula domestic airport in Trashigang this month. There are three flights to Gelephu and Yonphula every week. The domestic airport in Bumthang recorded about three flight cancellations so far. The airport receives five flights every week.

Multiple roadblocks from across the country have also been reported. According to Department of Roads (DoR), various locations along 23 primary national highways (PNH) are blocked due to landslides, falling boulders and flash floods following incessant rain since July 6.

Majority of the roadblocks is reported in central and eastern parts of the country.

The maximum number of roadblocks, at 15 different locations, is reported in Trashigang. While most of the roadblocks are along the gewog centre roads, the PNH connecting Trashigang to Mongar, Samdrupjongkhar and Trashiyangtse is blocked at four locations.

DoR’s regional office in Tingtibi has reported 12 roadblocks including five PNH along the Gelephu-Trongsa, Tingtibi-Panbang and Tingtibi-Praling roads.

In Samdrupjongkhar, three PNHs – Gyalpoizhing-Nganglam, Nganglam-Panbang and Trashigang-Samdrupjongkhar remained blocked as of yesterday.

Major blocks at Reotala along the Trongsa-Gelephu PNH, Khandropang along Bumthang-Mongar and an area near Dangdung Bridge along Trongsa-Gelephu PNH are also blocked since July 10.

In Lingmithang, the Gyalpoizhing-Gongri PNH and Kurizam-Mongar PNH including seven-gewog centre roads and two dzongkhag roads remained blocked as of yesterday.

Multiple landslides are also reported between Ossey stretch and Box-cut along the Gelephu-Trongsa PNH.

A major block at kilometre 36 along Jumja-Lhamozingkha PNH in Phuentsholing is expected to open to traffic on July 23. Continuous rainfall washed away the whole formation width along the highway on July 13.

DoR officials said that man and machines have been deployed at the sites and clearing works are ongoing. However, heavy and continuous rainfall has hampered the work progress. “While we have cleared the minor blocks and opened the traffic, heavy rainfall at night blocks the roads again,” said an official. “We cannot exactly say if the cleared roads would remain open but we have put our machines at almost all the affected locations.”

Most of the reported roadblocks remained closed to traffic as of yesterday.

Meanwhile, given the poor road conditions, institutions such as Gaedu College of Business Studies in Chukha and Sherubtse College in Trashigang have rescheduled the reporting dates for the students.

Younten Tshedup

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