Much-hyped Skewed bridge turns damp squib

People aghast over govt’s ‘ill-planning’ to convert motorable bridge into footbridge

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 27 2018 1:16AM | Updated Date: May 27 2018 3:27PM
Much-hyped Skewed bridge turns damp squibFile Photo

The state government’s “illogical” move to convert the much-hyped Skewed bridge into a footbridge at Rajbagh here has turned damp squib as hardly few pedestrians walk on it.  

When political proximity weighs heavier than rational decision making, outcome is disaster. Same happened with the erstwhile motorable skewed bridge over river Jhelum at Rajbagh which was converted to footbridge to allegedly appease few businessmen at the cost of public exchequer.  

The footbridge is third such bridge within a kilometre in Rajbagh vicinity. The traffic congestion at Abdullah bridge and outside Radio station continues to make life difficult for people travelling from south Srinagar to city centre Lal Chowk.

Jammu and Kashmir projects construction corporation, which was the executing agency of the project, had laid piers and foundation as per the norms of motorable bridge.    

“It was ill-conceived decision to convert skewed bridge into footbridge given the fact that RITES and transport department had recommended a motorable bridge in order to ease traffic congestion in Rajbagh area,” said a senior JKPCC official.

“Till early 2016, we constructed it as a motorable bridge, but after the demise of then chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, some PDP ministers influenced the decision for favoring few politicians and businessmen who had business interests on the bund of river Jhelum,” he said.

The decision had evoked resentment among general public and traders who are now demanding that it should be converted into motorable bridge in order to end traffic congestions.

“It is sheer ill-planning at its best. Earlier government has spent money to make it a motorable bridge and laid piers and foundation accordingly, which means cost of construction is much higher than what the cost of construction would have been on a simple footbridge,” said chairman, Kashmir economic alliance, Muhammad Yaseen Khan.

He said “PDP government is taking decisions only on basis of political proximity and it seems they have left rational decision making on the day they assumed power.”

According to Rites survey, the 120-metre-long bridge, having three spans, will connect the busy Polo View road with Raj Bagh near Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School across the river. It will help in reducing the traffic load on Abdullah Bridge— where long traffic jams are witnessed at the peak hours.

The Institution of Engineers India (IEI) J&K chapter also had pitched for making Skewed bridge over river Jhelum at Rajbagh as motorable bridge saying the government’s move to convert it into a pedestrian bridge would result in wastage of money spent on its construction.

The engineers from various developmental sectors recommended that “motorable bridge as per the original proposal should be constructed with a soffit level of 1589 metres instead of 1590.30 metres. This will reduce the even needed raise in the approach.” 

“Motorable bridge is a need of the hour for easing the traffic congestion in the city.  It was opined that we cannot afford to have another bridge over river Jhelum within the close vicinity. This bridge will also act as a rescue platform from the Disaster Management angle and should in any case be constructed as a motorable bridge,” the engineers said.

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