Dagana-Wangdue Phodrang bypass officially opens for traffic

Residents of Tseza and its peripheral gewogs and the district officials of Dagana will no longer have to travel via Sunkosh to reach Thimphu. This is because the 69 km road connecting Dagana and Wangdue Phodrang officially opened to traffic from yesterday. The bypass reduces the travel time between the two districts by almost two hours. The government spent over Nu 40 M to construct the road.

Earlier, commuters travelling from Dagana Dzong area had to cover 132 km to reach Kamichhu in Wangdue Phodrang. But now the new road has shortened the distance between the two places by 63 km. This has particularly brought residents of Tseza Gewog closer to the Northern and Western districts.

“Earlier, without a bypass, people travelling from districts like Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Gasa and Wangdue Phodrang towards Dagana had to travel via the Sunkosh crossing Wangdue-Tsirang highway. The journey used to be very tiring due to the long distance.  They had to cover more than 200 km to reach Dagana from the respective gewogs,” said Gyeltshen, a resident of Tsewa Geowg.

The bypass has also eased the lives of people of Pel-Ling chiwog of Tseza Gewog since the road passes through the chiwog. The chiwog has 13 households with around 70 residents.

“It used to take a day to bring essentials from Daga town till our chiwog. It takes even more than that when we carry goods on our backs due to the long distance between the two places,” said Sheko, a resident of Pel-Ling chiwog in Tseza Gewog.

“The road will be beneficial particularly during the times of sickness and emergencies. It also helps the nearby communities to transport timbers and other construction materials from the chiwog,” added Pel-Ling Tshogpa, Phurba.

Apart from Dagaps, the road has also helped improve the livelihoods of a few households of Kamina village of Darkar Gewog in Wangdue Phodrang. The village was deprived of a farm road connectivity as it didn’t meet certain requirements.

“We were worried residents of Kamina would abandon their homes when they don’t have access to farm road being located in a very remote area. But now, they are happy since the bypass passes through the village. Now instead of abandoning their homes, they have plans of growing more vegetables for commercial purpose,” said Jigme Dorji, Planning Officer with Wangdue Phodrang District Administration.

Dagana District and Tseza Gewog Administration started constructing the 18 km road from Tseza till Labtsakarchu in 2016 and completed the works in two years. But the works couldn’t continue beyond that since the area falls under Wangdue Phodrang district.

For this, Dagana and Wangdue Phodrang District Administrations jointly undertook the road construction project after signing a memorandum of understanding in 2021. Under the project, Dagana district constructed around 13 km from Labtsakarchu till Kamina while Wangdue Phodrang district constructed over 8 km from Wogyalna till Kamina.

However, for now, only four-wheelers can use the road along some stretches.

Pema Tshewang, Tsirang

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