Narrow bridges

Century-old bridges over virtual death traps Pathankot-Mandi NH: La Tribune India


Ravinder Sood

Palampur, September 25

About 15 minor and major bridges on the 208 km Pathankot-Mandi National Road which, over a century old, have turned into death traps. A number of accidents have taken place on the bridges because the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was unable to replace them.

The NHAI had taken over the highway four years ago for its widening to four lanes, but there are no signs of improvement or widening to date. The case has been put on hold because the state government was unable to make land available for the project. Previously, the road belonged to the PWD, which had replaced 60% of the bridges and even maintained the highway.

A privileged itinerary

  • The NHAI had taken over the highway four years ago for its widening to four lanes, but there are no signs of improvement or widening to date.
  • The case has been put on hold because the state government was unable to make land available for the project.
  • Previously, the road belonged to the PWD, which had replaced 60% of the bridges and even maintained the highway.

It should be remembered that these bridges were built over a century ago under British rule and have already survived their lives, while many have been declared unsafe. With the increase in traffic on the highway, these bridges could collapse at any time. In addition, due to these narrow bridges, traffic jams have become a routine in the areas of Maranda, Mattor and Sahapur. The foundations of some of these bridges were also washed away.

The bridge on the narrow curve near Mattor (Kangra) and Kalu Di Hatti in front of the gas pump on the NH has become a major accident risk. Light vehicles and two-wheelers suffer mainly because they run in khuds due to heavy traffic. In the past six months, three people have lost their lives at this point.

Anil Sen, project manager, NHAI, says the national authority is well aware of the situation. It has already completed the bidding process for the first lot between the Chakki Bridge and 32 Mile, and all bridges on that part of the highway will be replaced soon, he adds.

Likewise, the tendering process for the remaining phases was also underway and construction work would soon be awarded. In the case of areas where the road must be bypassed, the issue of replacing narrow bridges would be discussed with the NHAI and the state government. He admitted that due to increased traffic on the highway, all narrow bridges urgently need to be replaced.


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