After inordinate delay, the work on the Skewed Bridge over river Jhelum at Rajbagh has been restarted after the executing agency Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) raised the height of the bridge by over seven feet to dispel the concerns raised by the Irrigation and Flood Control department.
Officials informed Greater Kashmir that work on the project was halted after the Irrigation and Flood Control Department withdrew their NOC after September 2014 floods, raising concerns over the height of the bridge.
"They (I&FC) had asked the JKPCC to raise the height of the bridge by 7 to 8 feet as during September floods the water level went above the earlier earmarked height," they said.
Further the officials put blame on the unrest for missing the earlier set deadline of October 2016.
To mention, the JK government had fixed October deadline for completion of project.
Managing Director, JKPCC, Dalip Thusoo said the work on Rajbagh Bridge has been resumed and is currently going on in full swing.
"There are few issues which delayed the completion of project, first the Irrigation and Flood Control department asked to raise the height of the bridge by 7 to 8 feet and then the unrest completely halted everything," he said.
Thusoo said that the super-structures and prefabricated structures are under construction while work is going on the site. If situation remains conducive, we will mostly likely complete the work by June 2017," he added.
The bridge, named as Skewed Bridge due to its design, has been in midst of controversies for last few years. It was scheduled to be completed by December 2014, however as per officials, the construction of the bridge was hindered as Rajbagh was among the worst hit areas by September 2014 deluge.
The 120-metre-long bridge having three spans will connect the busy Polo View road with Raj Bagh near Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School across the river. Officials said it will reduce the traffic load on Abdullah bridge— where long traffic jams are witnessed at the peak hours.
Earlier there were reports that the bridge would be converted to foot bridge, however officials have denied such reports.
The bridge is being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 12.37 crore. As per JKPCC officials, the construction of the bridge post-floods was started only after experts gave nod to its construction as the PDP-BJP alliance had sought expert opinion. Some experts had cautioned that the bridge foundation may block water flow in the river.
Controversies raged over the proposal of the bridge due to its skewed design when Government announced its construction. It triggered a debate over its developmental benefits and environmental impact on river Jhelum. And some feared that the famous Bund will lose its glory once traffic plies on it.