Geohazard vulnerability and condition assessment of the Asian highway AH-48 in Bhutan

Karma Tempa, Nimesh Chettri, Komal Raj Aryal, Dipendra Gautam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transport networks are frequently exposed to geohazards, and losses can be observed frequently by notable disaster incidents such as landslides, earthquakes, and floods. Although losses due to natural disasters are frequently reported, limited attention is paid to assess the condition of strategic road networks in the Himalayas. Thus, to fulfill this gap, this study performs condition assessment of Asian Highway AH-48 in Bhutan and develops a system to rate the performance level of road assets. The assessment is conducted along a 157.6 km stretch of AH-48. The sum of findings highlights that about 55% of the road assets along the AH-48 are highly vulnerable to geohazards. Drains are observed to be the most vulnerable, with 52% drains lying below the standard rating among the considered assets followed by retaining walls and pavement. Landslide vulnerability function for highways that are situated in mountain regions is developed using the newly proposed landslide intensity scale. The sum of findings highlights that the Himalayan roads will be affected mostly by landslides and the drainage system is the most affected road asset showing the least serviceability among the common road assets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2904-2930
Number of pages27
JournalGeomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk
Issue number1
Early online date29 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Some of the information presented in this paper were collected under the project “Geo-hazard Risk Management and Asset Management in Bhutan—Data Entry and Data Collection” funded by the World Bank as a part of technical assistance (TA) to DOR executed by Civil Engineering and Architecture Department, College of Science and Technology, Royal University of Bhutan with contract no. 7183993. Authors are thankful to World Bank and DOR team members.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is
properly cited.


  • condition assessment
  • geohazard
  • landslide vulnerability
  • Road asset


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