Government mulling to make Rajbagh footbridge motorable

Governor Satya Pal Malik has asked the administration to consider the demand for reconversion of Rajbagh footbridge over Jhelum into a motorable bridge, a senior official said.

The official said the Governor passed the direction to the Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam and senior officials of Public Works Department, JKPCC and traffic department, to examine the demand in order to decongest the traffic flow in southern side of the city.

“It is highly likely that decision in this regard will be taken soon,” the official said adding that the chief secretary would chair a meeting with officials concerned in this regard “soon”.

Recently the Governor had assured Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries delegation that their demand for reconverting the footbridge into a motorable one will be considered.

“During our meeting with the Governor, we took up this issue. He assured that administration will consider our demand positively,” said senior vice president, KCCI, Nasir Khan.

He said they informed the Governor about importance of this bridge for decongesting the city traffic.

Originally planned for vehicular traffic, it was constructed at whopping cost of Rs 12 core. But the bridge was converted into a footbridge by the PDP-BJP regime, at the eleventh hour.

An engineer who was involved in the construction of the bridge said there will be no problem in re-converting the bridge into a motorable one.

“It has the foundation of a motorable bridge and its design is also suitable for carrying vehicular traffic,” he said.

“It was a shock to us when at the last moment of finalising its construction we were asked to make it a footbridge. It meant wastage of Rs 12 crore as footbridge construction would cost around Rs 1 to Rs 2 crore.”

Experts and engineers have sought intervention of the Governor to reconvert the footbridge near Presentation Convent School into a motorable bridge as was initially proposed.

According to a survey carried out by RITES, the 120-metre-long bridge with three spans will connect the busy Polo View road with Raj Bagh near the School across Jehlum. The bridge will help in reducing the traffic load on Abdullah Bridge where traffic often jams during peak hours.

The J&K chapter of the Institution of Engineers India (IEI) had also pitched for making the bridge motorable, stating that the government’s decision to convert it into a pedestrian bridge has resulted in wastage of funds.

Engineers from various developmental sectors had also recommended that “motorable bridge as per the original proposal should be constructed with a soffit level of 1589 metres instead of 1590.30 meters.”

An engineer said a motorable bridge was needed to ease traffic congestion in the city. 

“This bridge will also act as a rescue platform from the Disaster Management angle and should in any case be reconverted to motorable bridge,” one of them said.