Anantnag: The slow pace of work on the second phase of the flyover at Lasjan Bypass, on the outskirts of Srinagar city, is creating a serious traffic mess at the most critical junction of the NH-44.
The flyover has been under construction for more than a decade now. It was sanctioned to improve traffic flow between the NH-44 and Srinagar and onwards to Baramulla.
“It took ten years to get the first phase of the flyover ready. It was inaugurated last year,” a senior official from the National Highways Authority of India told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the second phase would have greatly enhanced smooth traffic flow towards Baramulla, but unfortunately the work has been really slow on this phase.
“The project was first handed over to RAMKY, a Hyderabad-based construction company, for execution. But they missed several deadlines and then the NHAI decided to not renew their contract any further,” the official said, adding that the RAMKY had taken the project up in 2011 and could not hand it over by 2020.
He said that paucity of funds, slow pace of work, and shutdowns in the valley were some of the reasons that the work kept getting delayed. The project was finally handed over to another construction agency, Gawar Construction Limited, in 2020.
“The work picked up after that but is still not up to the mark,” the official said. “It is still a long way before the project gets completed.”
The official said that the intense traffic flow on the road was a serious hindrance to the smooth conduct of work. “The engineers and the workers are managing somehow but the truth is that there is a really heavy flow of traffic on the road and it gets difficult to work like this.”
Kashmir Reader talked to Indresh Kumar, Project Director of the NHAI in Srinagar, who said that the work on the project started quite late. “We are working nevertheless. We have constructed a loop to temporarily bypass the construction site so that traffic is diverted and the work is not affected,” Kumar told Kashmir Reader.
Sources in the NHAI told Kashmir Reader that the work has been snapped altogether on the project for at least five days now, as it has been difficult to transport raw material amid unprecedented curbs on movement owing to Amarnath Yatra.
“We are trying to figure a way out to keep the work going, but if the situation remains the same, we might lose some precious time,” the sources said.
Commuters meanwhile rue that it has become a nuisance to travel around the construction site. “The road is extremely dilapidated and traffic moves at a snail’s pace. What should have been a two-minute drive takes around 15 minutes at least,” a daily commuter told Kashmir Reader.
Besides, the frequent traffic snarls are also adding to the woes of the commuters, on a daily basis.