India is going to construct a 19-km road -- at a height of around 18,600 feet -- between Kerang and Zadong of North Sikkim by October 2021, making it the second highest motorable road in the world, an official said on Tuesday.
The world's highest motorable road was built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in 2017 when it connected Chisumle and Demchok village near Leh by constructing a 86-km asphalt stretch at a height of around 19,300 feet. "The Zadong-Kerang stretch in northernmost Sikkim was sanctioned in 2015. The formation cutting is done. The black topping (putting asphalt on the road area) will begin in April next year," a BRO official told PTI. He added that the "19-km road will be constructed by October 2021 at a height of 18,600 feet".
He said it will take some time for the road to become operational as it is being constructed on an "extremely difficult terrain". "The construction work happens in only three months - April to June - as it is either snowing or raining heavily at other times. Therefore, it will take time to ready this road for operations," he explained.
The black-topped portion of the road would be 3.75 metre wide, he said. He said the Indian Army would need to approve the usage of this road for civilian operations. "I think the permission for civilian operations would be given as it would boost tourism in the area," he added. The official said that while Zadong has a beautiful rhododendron flower sanctuary, Kerang is the border post at the India-China border of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).