After 4 years, Jagraon Bridge repair finally complete
Four years after the Jagraon Bridge was closed for vehicular traffic as its girders were badly damaged, Ludhiana mayor Balkar Sandhu on Sunday announced that the repair work has finally been completed.
Announcing this, he threw open the bridge to the public but Congress councilors Sunny Bhalla and Rakesh Prashar said that the bridge was opened only for 45 minutes on a trial basis and closed again.
When contacted, Gurdeep Singh, railways engineer, who is supervising the construction work on the part falling under the railway’s jurisdiction, said that some final inspections for checking wear and tear was left and it is expected to be completed by Monday evening. “We will open the bridge for vehicular traffic on Tuesday morning,” he said.
NO INAUGURATION CEREMONY
As per sources, the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders were set to jointly inaugurate the bridge, but Saturday night’s political developments, wherein the Akalis walked out of the alliance, shelved the plans for a grand inauguration.
A SAGA OF DELAYS
The 132-year-old bridge, which is major lifeline of the city, was closed for heavy vehicles in May 2016 after its girders were found badly corroded. Two months later, in July, it was closed for all vehicles except two-wheelers.
This affected the traffic movement on the Railway Station Road, Jagraon bridge, Lakkar bridge and nearby areas, even as the repair project kept hitting several hurdles and inviting the wrath of residents.
For over two years, the project stayed in limbo as the railways refused to pool in money for it. It was only after the municipal corporation (MC) handed over ₹24.3 crore to the railways that the construction finally began in 2018, with a deadline of June 30, 2019. This was extended to December 2019, when the MC took over the project and announced it will be completed by March 2020. However, roadblocks caused by the Covid-19 lockdown pushed the completion date further.
Last week, mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu had announced that the project will be complete before Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.
Traffic expert Rahul Verma said that all’s well that ends well. Rahul, along with other activists, had been observing ‘Barsi (death anniversary) every year, in a symbolic protest against the project’s delay. “Finally, people would be able to commute through the bridge from Tuesday morning. I have urged the mayor that the potholes on the existing side of the bridge, upon which the traffic was diverted to, should be filled once the new stretch is operational,” said Rahul
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