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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

Pune’s centuries-old Lakdi Pul opens for two-wheeler traffic after 25 years 

Sambhaji bridge or Lakdi Pul had been closed only for two-wheelers in 1994 after the construction of other bridges in the Deccan area

pune Updated: Oct 17, 2019 16:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Two-wheelers were allowed to use the Sambhaji bridge after the traffic police issued the notification on Wednesday.
Two-wheelers were allowed to use the Sambhaji bridge after the traffic police issued the notification on Wednesday. (Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

The historic Sambhaji bridge in Deccan, popularly known as the Lakdi Pul among Punekars, has been thrown open to two-wheelers by the traffic police department on Wednesday.

The centuries-old bridge (built in 1761) had been closed for two-wheelers in 1994 after the construction of new bridges like the Z-bridge and Baba Bhide bridge in the area. Lakdi Pul acts as a focal point for travel from Deccan Gymkhana, Fergusson College road and Karve road to Tilak road, Lal Bahdur Shastri road, Laxmi road and Kumthekar road.

“The earlier orders to restrict two-wheelers from using Sambhaji bridge were given on April 7, 1994, and since then it was closed for two-wheelers. But now we have changed it and issued a new notification allowing two-wheelers to utilise the bridge. If citizens have any suggestions about this decision, then, they can send it to the deputy commissioner of police, traffic department, till October 21 in writing. After receiving public suggestions or objections regarding the decision, a final order will be taken by the department,” said deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Pankaj Deshmukh. 

The move is expected to provide relief to thousands of commuters who had to cross the Mutha river via longer routes of Z bridge, Baba Bhide bridge or Poona Hospital bridge. 

The bridge is the oldest in the city and is a testament of time. Historian Pandurang Balkawade, says, “It is the oldest bridge in Pune and was built in 1761 when the Maratha army of Peshwas lost the third war of Panipat and they built the bridge to enter the city. It was built within a span of 30 days and its construction work was monitored by Nanasaheb Peshwa. However, during the Panshet floods in 1961, the bridge was damaged. It was repaired by the Indian Army and was named Sambhaji bridge. The civic body has also carried on many repair works on the bridge.” 

Jayant Umranikar, former Pune police commissioner and also a Punekar, said, “In 1994, the Sambhaji bridge was closed for two-wheelers as the Bhide bridge was newly built and it was only for two-wheelers. So, the Lakdi Pul was made open only for three-and-four-wheelers. If the traffic department has changed the rules, we need to wait and watch the results. Citizens are used to the earlier traffic flow to go to their destinations and it may create some confusion.”