Inadequate budget, public ownership, and lack of machinery are some of the challenges Thimphu thromde is facing to maintain the road.
Engineer with Thimphu thromde, Tshering Dorji, said that annually the thromde spends Nu 5 Million (M) for road maintenance that includes potholes, footpaths, and drains, among others. “The allotted budget gets exhausted within five months. It is not sufficient to conduct all of the maintenance works.”
He added that the Department of Roads was allotted Nu 85M for the maintenance before the responsibility of maintenance was handed over to the thromde.
For the coming fiscal year, however, the thromde has proposed a budget of Nu 15M to the finance ministry for the maintenance works, which is yet to get approved.
Tshering Dorji said that an engineer is assigned for monitoring infrastructure on a daily basis. “We conduct maintenance works wherever it is necessary. We identify roads in urban and town areas as areas where major works are needed and areas where there is maximum vehicle movement.”
He said that secondary roads are given lesser priority. “Even local area plan (LAP) areas where constructions are ongoing such as Olakha, Taba and Babesa, no maintenance works are done to avoid wastage.”
He said that a road should last for about five years at least.
In an earlier interview with Kuensel, chief engineer with Thimphu thromde, Karma Jamtsho, said that there are about 270km paved road and most parts of the road are associated with drains and footpaths.
He said that shortage of staff, availability of equipment, materials, and dependency on contractors and suppliers are some of the challenges while carrying out maintenance activities in the city.
The most common public complains are for potholes, which the thromde receives through a Facebook page called Bhutan Pothole Police.
Tshering Dorji said that thromde attends to most of the complaints. “However, contracts are awarded for maintenance works. Even when we follow up with the contractor, we are unable to attend to it immediately as they have their own work plan, and a certain time is allotted for the maintenance work.”
He said that people wash their cars on the road, and wastewater spreads on the read. “Even when we try to fine these people, they blame on each other as wastewater comes from a building.”
He said that people should get approvals for road cuttings and footpath cuttings where individuals have to give security deposit.
Currently, thromde makes use of the Construction Development Corporation Limited’s machinery for maintenance, which also hinders the maintenance works, he said.
Thromde plans on redesigning footpaths along the Norzin Lam, and reconstruct Lungtenzampa bridge, among others.