Widening of Ludhiana’s BRS Nagar Canal bridge: Taken by surprise, commuters fume over bottleneck
A day after the sudden barricading of the 500m stretch from Pakhowal Road Canal Bridge to Hero Bakery Chowk to facilitate construction of the rail over bridge (ROB) and road under bridge (RUB) caught commuters unawares, the municipal corporation and irrigation department kicked off a project to widen one of the two BRS Nagar Canal bridges on Wednesday, much to motorists’ dismay.
A bottleneck has been created on the site with two-lane traffic diverted to a single bridge. Earlier, only one-way traffic was allowed on both bridges. Cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu flagged off the project and traffic snarls were witnessed on the site soon after. Ashu said the width of the bridge will be increased from the existing four metres to nine metres. The project, which is being undertaken under the Smart City Mission, will approximately cost ₹1.4 crore. Authorities say the bridge will be reconstructed within 50 days.
A popular demand
Residents have been clamouring for widening of the bridge since March, 2019, after four youngsters, including two siblings, were killed after their car plunged into the Sidhwan Canal after crashing into one of the railings of the bridge. The police had said the accident had taken place due to overspeeding. Nonetheless, residents demanded that the railing of the bridge, which is made of bricks, should be strengthened to stop vehicles from plunging into the canal in case of a mishap.
While maintaining that the project was much needed in view of the increasing traffic congestion in the area, locals derided the timing of the undertaking. A commuter said, “The MC should have delayed the project as construction is already taking place on Pakhowal Road and Ferozepur Road. The flow of traffic has already been disrupted on Ferozepur Road due to the ongoing elevated road project and the closure of a 500m stretch on Pakhowal Road has also triggered traffic snarls in Sarabha Nagar and Model Town Extension area.”
Punjab Road Safety Council member Rahul Verma said,”The civic body should have properly scheduled the construction projects as movement of traffic has already been hit on Ferozepur Road, Malhar Road, Pakhowal Road.”
Meanwhile, Ashu urged the residents to take alternative routes and cooperate with authorities, saying once completed, the projects will ensure smooth movement of traffic.