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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Tunnel Roads – the next phase of transport system in Bhutan

Department of Roads as parent agency for highways in Bhutan under Ministry of Works and Human Settlement has galloped a long journey since the start of first highway construction in early 1960s. Beyond highways, in the 11th fifth year plan, department was ushered responsibilities for construction and maintenance of whooping networks of Geog Connectivity (GC) roads. At the inception of 12th fifth year plan and thus far, almost all surface roads construction and improvement were completed; overall the adequacy of road networks have been accomplished under the dynamic farsighted leadership of the department. After successful completion of blacktopping of 182 GC roads out of 205, those roads were handed over to Local Government (LG), leaving the department mandated to focus only on highways.

Nonetheless, journey of further enhancement and development of transportation system in the country must travel far to the world standards for enhancement of socio-economic development.

For that matter, as reflected in the current plan document, the next stage for the department to get engage is in tunneling and underground space engineering works. Best for the country like ours that is geologically challenging and mountainous, start of tunneling works shall gear the department in accomplishing the mission statement of reducing travel time.

The first ever underground/tunnel road (1.50 km) (Video published by Bhutan Tube)was constructed on Tsirang – Wangdue National Highway by Punatshangchu Hydro project II and successfully opened to traffic on 25th June 2014.

Since the start of hydro-power plants construction to meet the target to harness 20000 MW by 2020, Bhutanese in general have seen tunnel construction in hydro sector only.
Highway tunnel on Tsirang - Wangdue National Highway. Photo from PHPA-II website
Tunneling roads will not only help in reducing travel time, it will also reduce the current setback triggered by unusual monsoon. Though the initial construction expenditure will be huge as compared to surface roads, operation and maintenance costs will be minimum; thereby, the best judgment to invest in the tunneling works considering the Life Cycle Costing and also the climate change effect on the roads such as now will be meager.

For that matter, it is time for the government and department in particular to start groundwork for the tunneling and underground space engineering knowledge. Ultimately, with tunnel roads that are best suited for country like ours, transportation system will be in the next level.

Therefore, as an introductory process to tunneling, short course on tunneling is scheduled on 24th to 27th September at Druk Hotel, Thimphu. Dr. Manoj Verman, Tunneling and Rock Engineering Expert, President, Indian National Group of ISRM (International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering) is organizing the course. The course fee is Nu. 17,000.00 (Seventeen thousand only).

I aspire, interested engineers of the nation would participate in the short course to originate light in future tunnel roads and underground space engineering.

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Blacktopping of Dakpai-Buli-Nimshong GC Road

Dakpai-Buli-Nimshong GC Road starts at Dakpai, 18.00 km on Tingtibi – Zhemgang SNH at an altitude of 1263 m. It traverses through forest touching many villages until Buli (36.60 km), 1698 m. The highest elevation, it passes between Dakpai & Buli is at Talila (18.00 km), 2014 m.

From Buli, the road inclines up through randomly dense forest till Gonglithang (5.10 km), 2154 m. The road further inclines up through the continuously dense forest & crosses Malaya top (10.50 km) at an altitude of 2626 m. The road, then declines down until Rongdigang (19.60 km), 1833 m and incline bit up with four short zigs. Further it traverses straight until Churmulung (25.50 km), 1937 m and then decline down till Nimshong (30.20 km), 1740 m.

The road, Dakpai-Buli was constructed in early years of ninth fifth year plan and Buli-Nimshong road was constructed in later years of 10th fifth year plan.
Blacktopping work in progress at Nimshong
From the above alignment description of the road, it is clear that the road stretch from Dakpai to Buli (36.60 km) passes through uniform elevation variation. Whereas, the road stretch from Buli crosses the highest elevation variation. Due to high elevation and dense forest cover along Gonglithang until Rongdigang, the road corridor and the pavement in particular receive less sun, leaving the road stretch marshy and damp throughout the year.

Although major sections of the road have been blacktopped, it is observed deterioration of wearing coarse in the form of potholes; alligator cracks, depression distress, shoving etc. At certain stretch, the gross failures of pavement are observed.

Due to more damp and marshy locations, almost 2.40 km of road beyond Malaya towards Nimshong were left without blacktopping.
Road stretch through dense jungle beyond Malaya
To forgo the blacktopping of marshy sections, discussion were held in various meetings and even in Department’s Quarterly meeting and resolute the same.

That’s why, certain stretch along Buli to Nimshong GC (2.40 km out of 30.20 km target) road was not blacktopped. Nonetheless, estimates for the remaining pavement improvement works have been prepared inclusive of cross drainage and road drainage for the betterment of smooth road along the high elevation ranges. 

I generously regret the inconveniences caused to the public of Upper Kheng, UK.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Life Cycle Cost Awareness in Bhutanese Construction Industry

A book published. Self authored. Go through the abstract. Thank you. 

Significant knowledge gaps exist in the knowledge of Life Cycle Costing and the alternatives selection of building materials in the construction industry. In order to fulfill the gaps a questionnaire survey was developed for 319 respondents in using the Life Cycle Costing for the Bhutanese construction industry. Life Cycle Cost Analysis of selected components of the selected building was done taking into account relevant economic factors: initial costs, maintenance and operational costs.

The maintenance and operation costs are generally ignored in building industry especially in design stage. For this research, the method of LCC, present worth cost approach was evaluated with projection of building service life as 60 years, inflation rate as 9.07% and discount rate as 0%.

A book published by Lambert Academic Publishing 

About 52% of the respondents do not have idea about LCC when making investment decisions nor do they not take maintenance, operation and replacement cost into consideration. The lack of significant input-cost data and lack of experience appears to be the most important problem supported by 78% responded lack of experience and 62% responded lack of significant input-cost data.

The LCC analysis showed that ceramic tiles, pre-painted CGI sheet and LED lamp has the lowest life cycle cost among the many material alternatives available in the market, that is, 16% for LED lamp, 13% for ceramic tiles and 64% for pre-painted CGI sheet.

Click the link to buy if anyone wish to use it for academic purpose or any related research reference. 

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Gold Mother

Mostly wander I swing deprived missing nearby eatable,
In the golden fur of beautiful raiment cover.

Jumping madly off the branches with mates
And peaceful rest to feed kiddo makes the wander wonder.

Golden Langur of Zhemgang

Profound dark face; golden raiment cover of gold & long extreme tail
You are named Golden Langur. 

Languorous care for the little one on the creepy branches,
Lively lovely gold mother, I see in you as I stare.
I recede with smile... 

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Some years ago, I promise to keep my blog up-to-date. That was when I was a college student. Exactly, with the new beginning of 2017 I am two years in service. Student and working life is two complete different things. The focus target being student is only one - study. Service life comes with numerous plans and targets. Moreover working with road sector, someone needs to adjust with many ad hoc activities and get least time to sit in office and do paper works.
More than seventy percent of time is spent out of office at sites monitoring and supervising various works. It is tough at times especially during monsoon seasons. Better I don't elaborate more on my working life now. I will share my experiences in times to come. In the meantime, I have few resolutions for the year which both concern my professional and personal life.
1.       Ghat tracing survey to connect Zhemgang and Mongar
2.        Walk from Khomshar to Ringdibi
3.       Read 20 books
4.       Learn Total Station instrument and LisCAD software fully
5.       Write life experiences as road engineer
6.       Learn RevitArchitect software fully and design Sub-Division office
7.       Reduce site visit and spend more time in office.
8.       Learn driving & basic mechanics of car  
9.       Learn more photography skills

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