Fazilka-Zirakpur road: Closed for 45 months to get overbridge, NH-7 stretch to now only see road repair
Forty-five months after suspending vehicular movement on a stretch of the national highway-7 crossing through Bathinda city to construct an overbridge, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will reopen the road soon without any change in the infrastructure
Forty-five months after suspending vehicular movement on a stretch of the national highway-7 crossing through Bathinda city to construct an overbridge, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will reopen the road soon without any change in the infrastructure.
Officials familiar with the infrastructural plan said on Thursday that tenders have been floated for the construction of the road. Work is likely to be allocated within next few days while shelving an earlier proposal to connect two flyovers at Barnala bypass.
As the flyover is closed for the last several months after the NHAI dug up the road, highway users are forced to use narrow service lanes. A delay in road construction caused inconvenience to highway users and city commuters.
NHAI project director Vipul Gupta declined to comment. Official sources said the earlier project was not conceived well as it would have caused traffic mismanagement on the service lanes.
Demand for an elevated highway was also looked into but it was rejected due to higher cost, said an official.
“Following a political intervention, an overbridge was planned at Barnala bypass. After strong opposition, a revised plan was submitted for final approval by the NHAI’s higher authorities. It wasted enough time and commuters faced hardships. Now, there will be no changes in the project as the traffic lights would be there on the highway with no overbridge or underpass,” he added.
On August 7, 2021, the former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal had laid the foundation stone for an overbridge in his political turf of Bathinda Urban. The ₹ 50-crore project was aimed at ensuring a hassle-free drive for the commuters on Fazilka-Zirakpur highway users passing through Bathinda.
As a traffic light intersection was planned to be replaced with an overbridge on the NH, it was claimed that the flyover would further ensure safer vehicular movement for the city road users on either side.
Before the project could take-off, a section of city residents and Badal’s political opponents started opposing the overbridge at the green city intersection while claiming that it would devalue the commercial and residential properties on both sides of the NH. A section demanded an elevated highway with ample space underneath for vehicular parking.
Following protests from the people and public representatives to bring a change in NH design, the road from Barnala bypass to Bhatti road spreading over about 700 meters, was lying shut for more than 45 months.