Uttarakhand govt shuts down ‘unsafe’ iconic suspension bridge Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh
The Uttarakhand government on Friday declared the Lakshman Jhula, the iconic suspension bridge across river Ganga in Rishikesh, out of bounds for pedestrians and traffic after a team of experts termed it unsafe owing to its dilapidated condition, officials said.
In its July 5 report, a private consultant company that surveyed the Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula – the two bridges are a little distance from each other -- had recommended that all movement across the first should be immediately stopped while the second could be restored for pedestrian use with infrastructural changes.
“We have received the report of the consultant that says any movement over the bridge (Lakshman Jhula) is unsafe. So, we have blocked traffic flow immediately. We will construct a new bridge in the area,” additional chief secretary Om Prakash said, without going into details.
The Lakshman Jhula was constructed by the Uttar Pradesh public works department in 1924 and was opened to traffic in 1930. The bridge connects the districts of Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal.
RC Purohit, who retired as a departmental head of the PWD said, “The government of India had allowed 250 kg per sqmt weight on the bridge before 2010. It was later revised to 400 kg per sqmt. But now, much more than the revised weight is allowed...The additional weight has led to the deterioration of suspension cables.”