Pakistan Railways has decided to close down its historic bridge near Transit Camp in Rawalpindi after the monthly survey by the relevant officials revealed that the 150-year-old bridge was “hazardous” for all forms of traffic due to years of carelessness.
Railway authorities made their decision after discovering a damaged section of the bridge’s protective wall. The district administration and the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB), according to the authorities, were negligent in their response to repeated pleas to fix the road.
Commuters use this bridge that connects Rawalpindi’s city and cantonment regions. Due to the closure of Principal Road, Peshawar Road, and other routes, traffic jams have developed on Ganjmandi Road, City Saddar Road, and Gawalmandi.
The railway officials asserted that letters requesting the repair of the route were sent to Brigadier Salman Nazar, president of the RCB, and Deputy Commissioner Tahir Farooq, but no response was obtained.
The district administration and the cantonment board failed to assume responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the road. Pakistan Railways Rawalpindi Divisional Superintendent Inamullah said . “The Pakistan Railways decided to permanently close the bridge for light and heavy traffic.”
He added that the “vibrations were seen in the bridge since it has not been maintained in over a decade” and that its current state posed a hazard to the main railway track connecting Rawalpindi with Peshawar.”
He claimed that because the bridge was in use by the general public and the railways had contacted the municipal organisations to request repairs, the authorities decided to turn to the federal government for assistance.
He stated that the letters asking for the bridge’s restoration over the previous two years went unanswered and that the railways were not in charge of maintaining the bridge.
The bridge, according to Mr. Inamullah, is only intended for light traffic, but heavy traffic has also been using it. He further claimed that vehicles must first pay a toll at Bakery Chowk before utilizing the bridge to access the city’s neighborhoods.
On the other hand, Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) refused to repair the bridge, saying that it was the responsibility of the Pakistan Railways to maintain the bridge. Similarly, a senior official of the district administration said that the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC) chalked out a plan to repair over 40 roads in the city but it did not include the repair of this bridge.