4 yrs on, bridge connecting Kulgam to national highway awaits completion

Kulgam, Nov 3: In the year 2017, the government approved a 500-meter two-lane Brazloo bridge over the Vaishaw stream, a major tributary of River Jhelum in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

The work on the project aimed to connect Kulgam to Qazigund area was subsequently undertaken by Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC).

However, the project was left midway due to reasons unknown.

The stretch has already been declared part of the NH-44 connecting Kulgam to Qazigund and Shopian.

But the old bridge which was damaged in 2014 floods is too narrow as a result of which long traffic jams are the order of the day.

“Each day we see light vehicles as well as fruit-laden vehicles stranded near the bridge for hours together,” said Riyaz Ahmad, a driver.

He said that the Traffic Police had a tough time managing the traffic on this stretch.

Locals said it takes hours to cover the 20 km distance to Qazigund through this road.

“If the bridge is completed it won’t take us more than half an hour to reach Qazigund national highway,” said Muhammad Hussain, a trucker.

JKPCC officials attribute the delay to technical issues.

“The earlier design was suitable for the bridge over rivers with sand beds only like the River Jhelum but for VaishawNallah which has abundant rock beds, the experts decided to change the design,” he said.

However, locals questioned the executing agency for taking up the work without proper research.

“If the design was faulty why didn’t the authorities change it before undertaking work? Isn’t this sheer wastage of money,” they said.

Another official said that the project had now been taken over by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

“The fresh tenders have already been floated for carrying the project,” he said.

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