Ramban (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], July 9 (ANI): Locals in Jammu and Kashmir's Ramban have welcomed the beginning of construction of the new concrete bridge over Chenab to replace the old bailey suspension bridge. For travellers from Gool and Reasi the bridge offers relief.
The old bailey suspension bridge, constructed in 1963 by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), was declared unfit in June 2019, and ever since, it has been repaired several times.
Falling on the old alignment of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway at Maitra in Ramban, the 240ft x 3.75mt bridge connected the major towns of the district. It had timber decking with concrete block anchors and 12 steel cables, and originally had the load-bearing capacity of 15 tons.
Since 2018, no vehicle more than 5 tons of weight has been allowed to pass over it.
Due to this, heavy vehicles had to cover an extra 13 km distance to go across Chenab from the existing NH44 to Gool road or Maitra.
Rajinder Singh, a local said, "The bridge was very old, and we had to take a detour for 13 kilometers if we were travelling via a heavy vehicle, to reach Maitra for work at DC office. Now that the work of a new concrete bridge has begun, vehicles, all big and small, would be able to commute easily. We are happy that the Central government didn't just listen, but also acted on our concerns."
Maitra is an administratively important town of Ramban. The District Administrative Complex is situated here, wherein there are all offices of civil and police administration.
"This new bridge will benefit the common people of the area. Earlier, even for the light vehicles, traffic was released one car at a time. It was too time-consuming, and we had to detour long distances to reach the otherwise easily approachable areas," a local said.
"I would like to thank the Government of India for considering our age-old demand and for starting the construction work," he added.
According to Shabir Ahmed Vaid, the Executive Engineer, Public Works Department (PWD) (Roads and Buildings), "The under-construction bridge will be 270 meters long and 50 meters high. It will be Canterliver type, pre-stressed double-lane bridge, and we are expecting that it will be completed within two years, at an estimated cost of Rs 43 crore."
He mentioned that even the emergency vehicles had to move very slowly in order to cross the fragile bridge, and "this caused traffic snarl at both ends of the bridge, and also wasted the precious time of the seriously sick patients, along with other commuters." (ANI)