SRINAGAR The delay in the construction of Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover was leading to frequent traffic jams in Srinagar.
The commuters have been put through number of problems and those who live in residential colonies from where the traffic is diverted due to the delay in construction also face the brunt.
The traffic mess due to the closing of main road from Rambagh to Jehangir Chowk is not only affecting the people driving vehicles, but pedestrians who have no access to footpaths in most places of the city, also find themselves stuck up in jams.
Having nowhere to walk the problems compound for the pedestrians when it rains as speeding cars splash muddy water. The city roads remain choked due to the closing of the road from Jehangir Chowk to Naaz cinema.
As per plan, the Rs 369 crore Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh Expressway Corridor (Flyover) Project financed by the Asian Development Bank, on which work began in 2013, was aimed to considerably reduce the traffic congestion in Srinagar city centre and provide quick access to the Airport. The project was expected to be completed in September 2016.
The original deadline for the completion of the flyover was missed after floods in 2014 resulted in damage to the equipment and fleeing of workforce.
In 2016 when the region faced a mass public uprising, the deadline was again delayed.
Since the construction started, traffic has been diverted though residential colonies, like Gogjibagh, Jawaharnagar and Rajbagh, causing inconvenience to the residents as well as commuters.
Due to heavy flow of traffic I usually get stuck in traffic with one passenger for a long time. The lanes are narrow and there is no other way out, a local auto driver said.
Zubaida Bano, a resident of Jawaharnagar, said half of her time goes in cleaning her house because of the dust and pollution after her colony has become a mini-highway.
People with respiratory problems in the areas say that they have had to spend more on their medication.
While different departments involved in the infrastructure upgradation have been shifting blame, the traffic department has been struggling to manage the endless lanes and by-lanes where from the traffic gets diverted.
The closure of the Jehangir chowk road has not only created traffic mess in the city but has affected businesses too. While footfall at malls and shopping complexes in the area has decreased, local vendors and shopkeepers are finding it hard to make sales and earn a living.
We have lost around 60% of our business. We have no other means of income, says Farooq Ahmad, who runs a small eatery.
He said that the shop owners have requested the government to speed up the work so that their business does not remain affected for a longer time.
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