Sylhet’s Kinbridge opened after being closed for nearly four months

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Sylhet’s Kinbridge opened after being closed for nearly four months

Sylhet Correspondent

Sylhet’s traditional Kinbridge was opened for pedestrian and light vehicle traffic from Thursday after being closed for nearly four months for renovation.

Those concerned said that although the bridge was officially opened from Thursday morning, pedestrians started crossing the bridge from Wednesday evening. After that, CNG-powered autorickshaws and engine-powered vehicles also started. But from now on, only rickshaws and motorcycles will be allowed along with the pedestrian crossing, according to the Roads and Public Roads Directorate (SOAZ), which oversees Kinbridge. For this purpose, poles are being placed on both sides of the bridge to block the traffic of heavy vehicles.

Residents of the city said that due to the location of Kinbridge in the middle of Sylhet city, local residents and pedestrians use Surma river crossing the most. Residents of North-South parts of Sylhet had to suffer a lot as the Kinbridge was closed for repair work for four months. Those who used to cross the Surma river by walking through the bridge; Alternatively, they have to cross by boat. The capacity of the small boat is 10/15 people, but they were crossing with three times the number of people and risking their lives for a rent of 5 taka per person. Moreover, pedestrians use Shahjalal Bridge and Kazirbazar Bridge within the city. However, as those two bridges are on either side of the city, the suffering has been more severe. Residents on both sides of Surma River are relieved as Kinbridge is open for traffic.

Anwar Hossain, a businessman in the city’s Bandar Bazar area and a resident of Bharthakhla area, said that we were suffering a lot because the bridge was closed. We crossed the Surma river by boat, fearing an accident. Now that it is open, the movement is facilitated.

Amir Hossain, executive engineer of Sauz Sylhet said, after the renovation, it has been opened again for the public. However, since the bridge is old, the initiative is being taken so that heavy vehicles cannot ply from now on. It has also been decided to keep rickshaws and motorcycles moving along with pedestrian crossing. However, CNG powered autorickshaws or heavy vehicles will not be allowed.

According to Sauz and related sources, the dilapidated Kinbridge made of 1,150 feet long and 18 feet wide iron, built in 1936, was discussed in the coordination meeting of various development projects in Sylhet Divisional Commissioner’s office in 2020. A committee of three members was also appointed to take necessary measures regarding the renovation of the bridge. Later, after Souz applied to the Ministry for allocation of money for the renovation of the bridge, Souz got an allocation of Tk 2 crore 15 lakh in February 2021. In June of the same year, the allocated money was transferred to the Railway Bridge Department. However, the renovation work was delayed due to various complications. Finally, on August 16, the first phase of the renovation work started by stopping traffic through Kinbridge for two months. Then the renovation work was completed on December 15 after two phases. Still the bridge was not being opened. After the Prime Minister’s public meeting last Wednesday evening, pedestrians removed the construction materials and the tin fence blocking the way on both sides of the bridge and started crossing. Later, when all kinds of traffic started besides walking from night, the bridge was declared open in the morning.

Keen Bridge, a beautiful iron structure built during the British period, was built by the Railway Department. After two years of construction, the bridge was opened for traffic in 1936. The bridge was named ‘Keane Bridge’ after the then British Governor of Assam (now Assam) province, Michael Keane. After construction, the bridge was damaged during the Liberation War in 1971. Later in 1977 the railway authorities did the first round of reforms. Moreover, four years ago, the city corporation installed sodium lamps along with the carpeting of the bridge, but the main structure was not renovated. After that, on September 1, 2019, the city corporation stopped all types of traffic with iron fences on both sides of the dangerous bridge. However, the bridge was opened for traffic shortly after the closure in the face of protests by citizens

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