Bailey bridge open, one vehicle at a time; one-way traffic from Srinagar to Jammu allowed today
Srinagar: Hundreds of vehicles carrying essential supplies that were stranded for the past six days on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway (NH44) began to move towards Kashmir valley on Saturday evening, through the newly launched Bailey bridge at Kela Morh in Ramban.
The traffic department said that civilian traffic will be allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu on Sunday, adding that the traffic will be strictly one-way and no vehicle shall be allowed from the opposite direction.
The Bailey bridge launched by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has come as a lifeline after the retaining wall of the concrete bridge at Kela Morh in Ramban collapsed on Sunday evening. Since then, the 270-km long highway, currently the only road link between Kashmir valley and the rest of the country, had been shut.
“Traffic was resumed on the highway in the evening at around 7 PM. Only stranded vehicles carrying essential supplies like LPG and fuel were allowed to ply towards Kashmir valley and as such, they will continue to ply till tomorrow morning. After this, only one-way traffic will be allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu on Sunday,” Jatindar Singh Johar, SSP Traffic Ramban, told Kashmir Reader.
He added that the interim arrangement of the Bailey bridge comes with a limitation of load that it can carry, so people need to cooperate with the traffic department to avoid any untoward incident and traffic mess by strictly adhering to directions and advisory.
“Only one vehicle will be allowed to pass through the bridge at a time, as the weight bearing capacity of the bridge is less than 40 metric tonne. We’ll be taking every precaution to stay within the capacity. For the coming days ahead, people need to cooperate with us and strictly comply with our advisories. This is for the greater good of people, to prevent them from facing highway disruptions again and also from getting stuck in traffic mess,” the SSP said.
The trial run of the Bailey bridge was successfully conducted in Saturday afternoon before opening it for traffic. Brigadier IK Jaggi of BRO told reporters in the afternoon, “People need to be careful. The load capacity of the bridge is 40 tonnes and vehicles going beyond this load limit can prove dangerous for the bridge. It took us only 60 hours, against the expected 72 hours, for the launching of the Bailey bridge. The bridge stands ready for traffic now.”
Meanwhile, work on the retaining wall of the concrete bridge at Kela Morh is going on, with the traffic department saying on Saturday that permanent restoration of the road will take time and is expected to be completed by the first week of March..