Kullu, April 3
Traffic congestion has increased in the town after the movement of heavy vehicles, including tourist buses, was restricted through the Bhuntar Bailey bridge, which has to undergo repair.
Kullu District Magistrate Ashutosh Garg restricted the movement of heavy vehicles through the bridge on March 11 after the PWD Executive Engineer told him about the urgency to repair it.
The bridge links the Kullu-Manali highway with the Bhuntar-Manikaran road and is the only connection to the Kullu bypass. Most tourist vehicles, including luxury buses, go to Manali through this route. However, after the bridge was closed for heavy vehicles, tourist vehicles have to cross through Bhuntar and Kullu towns, leading to traffic congestion.
Garg says that the bridge requires major repairs. An estimate of about Rs 56 lakh has been sent to the NHAI and the work will start soon. He adds that the work on the bridge near Bajaura is in full swing and its two lanes will be ready by April end after which heavy traffic will be diverted to ease congestion in the town.
He says that the proposal of a new bridge is pending with the government. The NHAI authorities say that the old design has become infeasible due to scarring because of floods and another design has been sent to the government.
The approach road to the concrete bridge in Bhuntar was washed away in the 1995 floods and a Bailey bridge was constructed as a stop-gap arrangement, which was damaged beyond repair in 2008. After that, a smaller Bailey bridge was erected at the same place. The new bridge, having more load capacity, was reconstructed in December 2017. However, it required maintenance.
The bridge connects Parla Bhuntar and the Parbati valley to Bhuntar town. Residents are urging the government for a permanent solution to the problem. They rue that their troubles mount during the peak tourist season in the summer when a large number of vehicles arrive in this famous hill station. Agriculturists of the Parbati and Garsa valleys are dependent on this bridge for transporting their produce to the marketing yard at Bhuntar.
Bailey bridge to be repaired soon
The Bhuntar Bailey bridge will undergo repairs soon. The bridge links the Kullu-Manali highway with the Bhuntar-Manikaran road and is the only connection to the Kullu bypass.