In a collaborative effort aimed at addressing structural concerns and traffic disruptions, at least five different entities, including the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), the military engineering organisation of the army, and the National Highway Authority (NHA), have joined forces to conduct a comprehensive survey for Soan Bridge remodelling.
Soan Bridge Remodelling
The initiative comes in response to issues raised by Rawalpindi Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha, who highlighted the challenges posed by “rampant construction, water leakage, and landslides” on the banks of the Soan River. A senior officer from the district administration, speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the commissioner had conveyed these concerns to the Punjab government, emphasizing the urgent need for intervention.
The commissioner underscored that ongoing construction activities over the past year had led to significant problems, including a partial collapse of the bridge. Commissioner Chatha noted that the construction work had created traffic bottlenecks, impacting the daily commute of hundreds of thousands of vehicles that utilize the bridge. The resulting traffic logjams and spillover onto the GT Road and near the Kutcherry Chowk, home to the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court, have further exacerbated the situation.
The commissioner stressed that these disruptions had not only affected the smooth flow of traffic but also hampered commercial activities in the area due to increased congestion on alternate highways. In light of these challenges, Commissioner Chatha recommended reaching out to the federal government to devise a comprehensive solution.
The anonymous officer disclosed that the Soan River bridge serves as a crucial artery, necessitating a swift and effective resolution to ensure uninterrupted traffic flow. The district administration has previously undertaken successful remodelling efforts, such as at Defense Chowk, resulting in a signal-free road connecting GT Road Lahore to Rawalpindi.
To mitigate the impact on traffic, a strategic right turn before the Soan Bridge has been introduced for traffic travelling from Rawalpindi to Lahore. This adjustment has significantly improved traffic flow, allowing vehicles from both sides of the GT Road to proceed without hindrance.
As the multi-agency survey kicks off, it marks a concerted effort to address structural concerns, enhance public safety, and ensure the continued functionality of the Soan Bridge—a vital transportation link in the Rawalpindi region.