Srinagar, Nov 9: The Jammu and Kashmir government and Border Roads Organization are constructing new bridges in Kashmir while discarding Army's iron bridges, particularly along the Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri highway.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the idea is to construct indigenous concrete bridges at places wherever necessary and handing Army's iron-bridges back to them.
The government and BRO have started construction on many such bridges across the Valley, a top government official said.
"Basically the idea is to replace iron bridges with concrete ones in Kashmir particularly on Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri highway. BRO is in the process of construction of new concrete bridges at places wherever the iron bridges were placed," Chief Engineer Beacon, Brigadier TPS Rawat said.
He said construction of new concrete bridges is a daunting challenge but they are going ahead with it. "Constructing a new concrete bridge is a big challenge. It has much to do with things like hydrology and design. But we are trying our best to do what the proposal is aimed at," Rawat said, adding that Army's bridges would be handed over to them after the new bridges are constructed.
"The construction on some bridges has started last year in Uri," he added.
While the construction of new bridges on highway would be undertaken by the BRO, the state government is to take care of building the bridges on Valley's internal roads. "Bridges constructed by Army were temporary. Throughout they had been used in extraordinary situations. When the state government will be done with the construction of new concrete bridges, Army bridges would be handed over to them," Chief Engineer PWD R&B Kashmir M A Lone said. "Bridges constructed by Army are its own assets. We shall handover them back."
Well-placed government sources said the idea of constructing new concrete bridges and discarding Army bridges was proposed by an expert committee which was tasked to find out the strength and durability of the Army's iron bridges. "It is actually in the wake of inputs that Army's iron bridges in Kashmir are no longer safe either for Army convoys or general use that J&K government and Border Roads Organization have started to construct alternative bridges," an official source said.
"It is extremely unlikely that Army—even after handing over the bridges to them—would use the iron bridges for the convoy movement. If parties involved in the project reach a consensus then it is possible that Army's iron bridges would be closed down," he said.