Despite all odds, the Border Roads Organization (BRO) constructed a prefabricated steel bridge at Kelamorh on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district within a record time of 60 hours.
The only surface link connecting Kashmir Valley with rest of the country had got snapped after a portion of highway at Kelamorh caved in on 10 January 2021.
The NHAI responsible for the maintenance of the highway had said that it will take 10 days to repair the road and construct a retaining wall.
However, the BRO despite facing odds constructed the prefabricated steel bridge at Kelamorh within the “minimum possible time” to help restoration of the highway.
Chief Engineer, BRO, I K Jaggi told Greater Kashmir that they had received “a request from the National Highway Authority of India and the administration for help in restoring the vital Jammu Srinagar National Highway on Wednesday”.
Acting on the request, “the 760 Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) N K Dixit and OC 99 RCC (Road Construction Company) GREF Lt Col Varun Khera along with the technical team and labourers” were summoned at Kelamorh on the same day. “After conducting a survey, they decided to build a Bailey bridge,” he said.
He said that assembling the bridge material was the tough job as it was dumped at different locations and at some places it was under snow. “The material for the Bailey bridge was brought here from various remote parts of Kashmir, Udhampur, Kishtwar and Bhadrawah,” he said, adding that at least 30 trucks were pressed into service for transporting the components of the bridge.
He said the work on the 120-feet long prefabricated steel bridge continued round the clock. Finally, the BRO constructed the single lane Bailey bridge over a rivulet at Kelamorh in a record time of 60 hours with the help of one dozen engineers and near about 100 workers. With the coming of the bridge, the commuters and the drivers who remained stranded for seven consecutive days at various places on the highway heaved a sigh of relief.
The Chief Engineer BRO said that after conducting a trial on Saturday afternoon the bridge was opened for vehicular traffic in the evening.
“The construction of the bridge was started on Wednesday and completed on Saturday; it bears the load of heavy load carriers up to 40 tons. The bridge is very important as it is a strategic link connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country, he added.