Srinagar, Mar 12: Demand for making Rajbagh footbridge motorable has gone shriller amid massive traffic snarls in the summer capital.
Conceptualised as a motorable bridge to ease traffic flow in Rajbagh area and southern parts of the city, the then state government in 2016 had to convert it into a footbridge which as per urban planning experts already serves any purpose while the larger problem of traffic congestion remains at its peak.
Originally planned for vehicular traffic, it was constructed at a whopping cost of Rs 12 crore. 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.”
Managing Director, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), Rajesh Kumar said that “I will visit the spot and see what can be done.”
Institution of Engineers India- J&K chapter had already pitched for making a footbridge over river Jhelum at Rajbagh as a motorable bridge, “……… motorable bridge as per the original proposal should be constructed with a soffit level of 1589 metres instead of 1590.30 metres. This will reduce the even needed raise in the approach and was further stressed by the members of The Institution of Engineers India, JK Chapter that a motorable bridge is the need of the hour for easing the traffic congestion in the city.”
It further states that the NOC for the proposed bridge was issued by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department on May 5, 2012 wherein an HFL of 1586.82 meters was communicated to the JKPCC with a freeboard of 2.00 metre.“This made the overall soffit level of the bridge as 1588.82 metres which was to be adopted by the JKPCC during the construction of the bridge. Post floods the highest flood level (HFL) was revised by the I&FC department to 1589.14 metres and communicated to the concerned departments,” it adds.
According to a survey carried out by RITES, the 120-metre-long bridge with three spans will connect the busy Polo View road with Rajbagh near a school across Jhelum. The bridge will help in reducing the traffic load on Abdullah Bridge where traffic often jams during peak hours.