By Staff Reporter
The national highway networks face a serious challenge of road block in the winter season due to heavy snowfall along the high passes and landslide during the monsoon seasons. In order to facilitate the Department’s efforts in keeping the roads open to commuters under all kinds of weather and in particular the snowy weather in the winter and monsoon seasons the department is support with new equipment and machineries.
Department of Roads (DoR), Maintenance Division, Ministry of Works and Settlements procured Machineries and Equipment through Asian Development Bank (ADB) support and these equipment and machineries would be used for better maintenance of roads.
The Department of Roads has procured a Toyota Hilux, Toyota HiAce Bus, three JCB Wheel
Loaders and six Mini hands-held rollers worth Nu. 29.82 million through ADB finance.
The Toyota Ace Bus shall be customized to fit Road Measurement Data Acquisition System (ROMDAS) Equipment. ROMDAS equipment shall collect asset and pavement information using locally sourced road survey vehicles.
The JCB Wheel Loader shall be retrofitted with blades and shall be utilized as a snow clearing machine during winter season at Dochula (Thimphu), Pelela (Lobesa), Thrumshingla (Lingmethang) respectively. It shall be used as a Pay loader to clear slip clearance & landslides during other seasons. It shall be handed over to three Regional Offices of the Department, states the press release.
The mini hand held roller shall be used for routine maintenance and pothole repairs works across the country. It shall be handed over to six Regional Offices of the Department of Roads.
With the onset of the winter season and news being shared on snowfall at the high altitude passes along the Northern East-West Highway, the snow clearing machines shall be of significant use in keeping these road stretches open to commuters this winter, says Department of Roads.
ADB’s comes for the support for the procurement through South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Project funded through ADB Grant no. 0400. In line with the objectives of the project, the machinery and equipment shall improve road maintenance and monitoring systems along the country.
The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in a project-based partnership that aims to promote regional prosperity, improve economic opportunities, and build a better quality of life for the people of the subregion. SASEC countries share a common vision of boosting intraregional trade and cooperation in South Asia, while also developing connectivity and trade with Southeast Asia through Myanmar, to the People’s Republic of China, and the global market.
The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity Project will promote regional connectivity with neighboring countries through investment in road construction and land ports with custom stations, facilitating cross border trade. The project will also expand Bhutan’s national road network, providing access to remote areas in the eastern part of Bhutan, near the Indian border. This will open up access to better economic opportunities and social services.
As of March 2022, SASEC member countries have signed and implemented 72 ADB-financed investment projects worth over $17.28 billion in the transport, trade facilitation, energy, and economic corridor sectors. The transport sector accounts for the most number of projects (44 projects worth over $12.32 billion), followed by energy (16 projects worth over $2.92 billion), economic corridor development (7 projects worth over $1.93 billion), trade facilitation (3 projects worth around $80.66 million), and ICT (2 projects worth $20.80 million).
ADB-financed technical assistance has supported SASEC investment projects throughout the subregion, regional cooperation forums and knowledge-sharing initiatives, and pilot projects since 2001. A total of 104 national and regional technical assistance projects (cumulatively worth $141.13 million) have assisted member countries in strategic planning, project preparation, and have supported SASEC forums, and capacity-building and knowledge-sharing events.
The SASEC Operational Plan presents the strategic objectives of the SASEC partnership, and the operational priorities of the four main SASEC sectors-transport, trade facilitation, energy, and economic corridor development. It is supported by a list of potential projects regularly updated by SASEC member countries to be implemented during 2016-2025.
The project has also funded Pasakha Access Road, Northern Bypass Road, Allay Land Custom Station and Mini Dry Port at Phuentsholing. The contract packages were executed by Department of Roads and Phuentsholing Thromde. The project has total allocated fund of USD 18.96 million of which 98% has been utilized till date which includes civil work contract packages and consultancy services. The procurement of the machineries and equipment is the last task scheduled in the project and has been successfully completed.
The wheel loader, roller, Machineries and equipment were officially handed-over to the Director General, Department of Roads on December 30, within scheduled delivery period through lhabsang thrisel ceremony at Ugen Earthmover Service, the supplier in Thimphu. ADB officials were also present during the handing-taking ceremony. The total cost of the procurement is Nu. 29.82 million.
Bhutan resident Mission, ADB, Thimphu has 12 active projects across the country and has continuously supported the infrastructure and capacity development of the country and human resources. The Department of Roads solicits ADB’s continuous support in construction and maintenance of the roads, states the DoR press release.