After three months of completion, the much-awaited bridge over the Sutlej river between Lalowal (Ferozepur) and Gidderpindi (Jalandhar) villages will open for traffic on Tuesday (September 4).
At last, someone has agreed to inaugurate the 720-metre-long, 10-metre-wide structure. The dignitary is deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
If the approaches on both sides are added, the bridge has a length of 1,575 m. It will bring traffic from Lohian and Jalandhar in Jalandhar district to Gidderpindi near Makhu, a small rural town of Ferozepur district.
The Rs-41-crore bridge was completed well past the June 2011 deadline and now its opening has taken another three months because none of "state dignitaries" could spare time, official sources have suggested.
Its construction was hampered by floods in the Sutlej last year and the next the rise in the water level in April 2011. Former Shiromani Akali Dal member of parliament Zora Singh Mann got it approved, and on March 2010, the construction was on.
"Before this, a 100-year-old rail-and-road bridge at Gidderwindi village connected people on two sides of the river," said Jagmail Singh, a man from Makhu. "Whenever a train was on it, road traffic had to halt. Since the narrow bridge could accommodate only one-way traffic, it wasted a lot of time."
Following the British colonial era rules, the railway authorities would allow road traffic on the bridge only at night. "It impeded medical emergency rescue," said Gurcharan Singh, a villager from nearby, "for a 40-km detour was the only other way to get on the other side."
Hari Singh Zira, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislator from Zira confirmed that the opening was scheduled for Tuesday.