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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

British-era bridges in Kangra haunt commuters

Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times  Dharamsala , July 18, 2013
First Published: 18:12 IST(18/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:36 IST(19/7/2013)

Having outlived their life, around half a dozen good-old Birtish-era bridges not only haunt the commuters crossing over them in the rainy season every year, but can collapse any moment snapping Kangra valley's link with other parts of the state.

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Built over perennial streams originating from mighty Dhauladhar ranges these bridges still serve as lifeline of the Kangra valley despite being in depleted condition.

Two such prominent bridges are Kotla Bridge on the halfway to Pathankot from Dharamsala and Bathu Bridge near Ranital, which connects the valley with Chandigarh and Delhi.

Besides, there are three other small bridges, which were built by colonial bosses and needed to be replaced with new structures owing to weakening of their century-old foundations.

Built over Dehar rivulet in 1902, 74-m-long and 3.7-m-wide Kotla Bridge is a Steel Truss- girders architectural design, while 80-m-long and 3.6-m-wide Bathu Bridge was laid in 1924.Both the prominent bridges are of substructure style having life span of 70 to 80 years.

Due to manifold increase in the traffic along the national highway, there is a lot of pressure on these old structures as thousands of vehicles cross over these bridges every day, including those loaded beyond the capacity of the bridge.

The construction of a new double-laned bridge at Kotla started in 2008 with an estimated cost of Rs. 7.5 crore. The bridge was to be completed in 2010, but the construction company after raising the initial supporting structure abandoned the work. Since then, there has been no progress in the project.

Similarly, the work on Rs. 4.47-crore new bridge project was started in August 2008 after it was awarded to a Chandigarh-based construction company with a deadline of August 2011.


 


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