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Abbottabad residents resent delay in repair of damaged Ayub Bridge

Abbottabad residents resent delay in repair of damaged Ayub Bridge

ABBOTTABAD: The local people have complained about National Highway Authority’s (NHA) failure to repair the damaged portion of the Ayub Bridge in Havelian tehsil despite repeated reminders.

Talking to Dawn, they said the adjoining Langra Bridge was also vulnerable due to flow of heavy traffic on it.

The Ayub Bridge built in the early 70s on the River Daur on Karakoram Highway in Havelian connects Abbottabad, Galiyat, Kaghan valley and Gilgit Baltistan with rest of the country.

It was damaged in July 2021 when rains caused floods in the river, forcing the NHA to divert the traffic load on the adjacent Langra Bridge meant for light traffic only.

After the closure of Ayub Bridge, the traffic on the main road was diverted to Langra Bridge, traffic officials said, adding around 5,000 vehicles crossed the Langra Bridge daily, causing frequent congestion near and on the bridge.

“It takes around 30 minutes to an hour daily to cross the Langra Bridge due to congestion to reach the KKH via the narrow old Havelian road,” said Abdul Qadeer, a government servant who daily travels by public transport between Haripur and Abbottabad.

A traffic police officer requesting anonymity also confirmed the diversion of traffic on the old Havelian Bazaar Road via the Langra Bridge, resulting in traffic mess. He said loaded trucks also crossed the Langra Bridge due to which its structure was also vulnerable to harm.

Abbas Shah, a local journalist, said illegal excavation of sand and stone beneath the Ayub Bridge might have caused damage to its structure, but the authorities concerned had failed to take action to curb the illegal activity.

“The bridge would have been protected against the damage had the mine and minerals department and the NHA officials swung into action timely to stop the illegal activity,” Mr Shah said, adding commuters had been facing mental stress and inconvenience for last six months.

When contacted, director maintenance NHA north Zafar Hayat told Dawn that rehabilitation work on the damaged portion of the bridge was in progress.

He said the total cost of the bridge’s repair was Rs45 million, and it would be reopened to traffic within the next four months. He asserted that quality of construction work and its completion within the timeline would be ensured.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2022

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