Expected to be completed by September 15 after missing five deadlines, the project to reconstruct the historical Jagraon Bridge has been delayed further by two weeks. Setting its seventh deadline, mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu has now announced that the project will be completed by Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.
After discovering that the girders of the 132-year-old bridge were badly corroded, the damaged side of the bridge (which leads to Bharat Nagar Chowk) was closed for heavy vehicles in May 2016. Two months later, in July, it was closed for all vehicles except two-wheelers.
A major traffic lifeline of the city, the bridge has now been closed for over four years, hitting the movement of traffic on the Railway Station Road, Jagraon bridge, Lakkar bridge and nearby areas.
Conceived in 2016, the project to repair this damaged portion of the bridge stayed in limbo for two years as the railways refused to pool in money for it.
It was only after the municipal corporation (MC) handed over Rs 24.3 crore to the railways that construction finally began in 2018, with a deadline of June 30, 2019. This was extended to December 2019, when 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 to June. The fourth deadline was revised to August 15 and then again extended to September 15.
Now, the railways is expected to take another week to complete the construction of the damaged bridge, which has been serving the city since 1888, following which MC will complete work on the approach road.
Mayor Balkar Sandhu and councillor Rakesh Prashar visited the construction site on Thursday (17th September 2020).
“The railways will complete its end of the job by September 22, following which MC will construct the approach road. The project is expected to be completed by September 30 and opened for traffic by October 2,” the mayor said.
Prashar said, “Trees will be planted on both sides of the bridge for its beautification.”
A railways official said the project was delayed due to the closure of bitumen plants amid the Covid-19 lockdown, besides other hiccups.
Amid the project missing multiple deadlines, residents have written to government authorities several times and also observed four ‘death anniversaries’ of the bridge as a symbolic protest against the delay.