'Make Skewed Bridge motorable'

'Make Skewed Bridge motorable'

Concerned citizens starts online petition

Dismayed over government’s inaction, a concerned group of citizens has started an online petition seeking conversion of a foot bridge over river Jhelum into motorable. 

Though, former Governor, NN Vohra had asked the officials to reconvert the Skewed footbridge to motorable bridge as per the original plan, however with change of guard, the proposal has been put on backburner. 

A group of concerned citizens through Kashmir Road Safety foundation has started an online petition seeking conversion of the footbridge into motorable bridge.

“Traffic jams and mismanagement of traffic system is common problem being faced by the people across the Valley. The solution to this problem was created few years back when the construction of new motorable bridge started which is now unfortunately the foot bridge near Presentation Convent higher secondary school Rajbagh. If this bridge is kept open for vehicles, then everyone will take the benefits of it and will save time to commute from one place to other. This  will also decrease the flow of traffic in the city,” reads the online petition.

The footbridge over Jhelum near Presentation Convent School was earlier envisioned as a motorable bridge to reduce traffic congestion in southern city. However, despite spending around Rs 12 crore on the bridge, it was later converted into a footbridge by the PDP-BJP coalition government.  

 A senior official of Public works department said that administration sought expert views on making Rajbagh footbridge motorable. The decision was taken on the directions of former Governor NN Vohra. “He was in favor of making this bridge motorable as per the original plan. However, there has not been any forward movement in this regard so far after change in guard.”

“There was general consensus that the bridge would be thrown open for traffic movement as it could help in redressing the traffic mess in the southern part of the city. Besides there was a general opinion that footbridge is not serving any purpose as there are two other footbridges adjacent to this one,” he said.

Originally planned for vehicular traffic and popularly known as Skewed Bridge, it was constructed at whopping cost of Rs 12 crore. An engineer who was part of construction process of Rajbagh Bridge said there will be no problem in re-converting the bridge into a motorable one.

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 Presentation Convent School across Jhelum. The bridge will help in reducing the traffic load on Abdullah Bridge which frequently witnesses traffic 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 move to convert it into a pedestrian bridge would result in wastage of money.

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.”  The engineers said a motorable bridge was needed to ease traffic congestion in the city.