GUJRAT: The 60-year-old Rehmania flyover along the GT road (Gujrat bypass) was closed to all types of traffic on Wednesday as a precautionary measure after its top slab was punctured on at least 10 locations.

The decision, jointly made by the National Highways Authority (NHA), the National Highways and Motorways Police (NHMP) and the Gujrat district administration during a meeting about a week ago, is aimed at preventing any mishaps.

However, the decision has raised concerns due to the absence of a proper alternate route and a diversion plan at the site as a proper slip road before the entrance point of the bridge and other arrangements are still to be made by the NHA and the local administration.

With the flyover’s closure, heavy traffic vehicles (HTV) and light traffic vehicles (LTV) travelling from the Rawalpindi/Islamabad side on the main GT Road have been rerouted through the old GT Road passing through Gujrat city.

The 14-kilometer stretch of the old GT Road had been carpeted a year ago.

Local traffic police and civic agencies are worried that the increased passage of HTVs may strain the old GT Road’s condition and disrupt the city’s traffic flow.

The structure of flyover over Rehmania storm water channel had long been in a dilapidated condition. Although the NHA has made several repairs in recent years, the situation has not improved, rendering its top slab non-trafficable, according to an official from the NHA’s maintenance division in Wazirabad zone.

He said the deck of bridge might be collapsed at any time or the vehicles might be fallen from it due to which the NH&MP had been requested to close the bridge.

The NHA has plans for a complete reconstruction of the bridge and is in the design preparation phase, during which traffic will be diverted to an alternate route until the reconstruction is completed.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2023

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