Closure of 4th Tawi bridge, Amarnath Yatra put brakes on pace of flyover work

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, July 3: Notwithstanding Chief Minister’s intervention and  special permission by the Divisional administration for transporting material via Canal Road, circumstances seem to be unfavourable for the  timely completion of Bikram Chowk-Gandhi Nagar flyover project, which is likely to miss  the fresh deadline.
After  temporary closure of fourth Tawi bridge near Bhagwati Nagar because of repair work, commencement of  Amarnath pilgrimage and consequent restrictions owing to security reasons have virtually put brakes on progress of the ongoing work on this Express Corridor, deadline for completion of which  is December 2016.
Since Bhagwati Nagar bridge was only viable road link to transport 20 meter long concrete slab guarders to the flyover construction sites through 70 feet long specialized vehicles, closure of the bridge  stalled vital work on Express Corridor for the last more than a fortnight.
As  the matter was brought into the notice of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti during her review of ongoing developmental works in Jammu, last week, the Divisional administration was directed  to take necessary measures for ensuring transportation of guarders from the production unit near STP Dumping Plant at Bhagwati Nagar to Bikram Chowk via  Canal Road.
On the Chief Minister’s personal intervention and consequent direction of the Divisional administration , several  temporary structures and objects like traffic lights, poles, pavement, etc,  which were main  hurdle in passage of specialized vehicle for transporting slab guarders via Canal road ,  were removed near Police Post and other spots on last Wednesday.
However,  all the efforts for ensuring resumption of work on the flyover did not yield required result as commencement of Amarnath Yatra from Bhagwati Nagat Base camp  once again put brakes on normal movement of  specialized vehicle for transporting guarders.
While elaborating, sources explained that the specialized vehicle, which can operate only during  the late night  till wee hours,  when traffic is off the road, normally take   five to six  rounds  for transporting guarders in a day. However, the commencement of Amarnath pilgrimage from Bhagwati Nagar Base Camp has put restrictions on movement of the specialized vehicle after 2 a.m. Now, the specialized vehicle, which can carry  only    two guarders at a time, is able to take single round, sources added.
Consequent upon non availability of guarders because of the  hurdles in their transportation to the construction site, vital work on the flyover has got  hampered with the result that project may get delayed and probably miss the fresh deadline.
December 2016 is the fresh deadline set for completion of this 1.3 km long flyover from Bikram Chowk to Presentation Convent School at Gandhi Nagar along Satwari road.
Pertinent to mention that due to immediate repairs and construction of protection bund, the fourth Tawi bridge at Bhagwati Nagar has been closed for vehicular traffic. As per Jammu Kashmir Projects Constructing Corporation (JKPCC), which has closed the bridge for repair work, the route will be again thrown open for traffic after the repair work is done, which may take some time. Even as the JKPCC claims that it would  take 15 to 20 more days in completing the protection work, sources said that keeping in view the quantum  of work  and early onset on Monsoon,  vehicular traffic on  the bridge is unlikely to be restored by the end of rainy season.
When contacted, Vinod Sharma, CEO ERA (Economic Reconstruction Agency), admitted  that closure of Bhagwati Nagar Bridge and commencement of Amarnath Yatra have  hampered progress of work on flyover project. “Despite best possible  cooperation by all the Departments and concerned agencies, normal course of work is getting hampered because of unavoidable situation  and  nothing can be said at this time about  timely completion of the project,”  he added.
The flyover project is approximately 70 percent complete while maximum pending job is superstructuring that involves laying of concrete guarders on the pillars and interlocking of the same.
Delay in progress of the ongoing work of the flyover project is also a matter of concern for the safety point of view as traffic on the road from Bikram Chowk to Presentation Convention School has not been diverted to Gujjar Nagar bridge despite an agreement for the same between Government and the executing agency, sources said.
The non-diversion of the traffic has already reduced scope and pace of work on the flyover project, worth Rs 95 crores, which had been started in May 2013 and was scheduled to be earlier completed by August 2016.