STATE TIMES NEWS Udhampur: An overnight downpour damaged a key bridge in Udhampur district, officials said on Saturday, as authorities announced its closure till the completion of necessary repair work. A major portion of the Birwan bridge on old Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Udhampur got washed away by the heavy rains, the officials said. They said though the bridge was already under repairs and was only open for one-way traffic for the last three months, the latest damage rendered it unsafe. Udhampur District Development Commissioner Piyush Singla immediately ordered closure of the bridge for vehicular traffic and asked the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to speed up restoration work. The traffic was diverted to Jammu-Srinagar national highway due to the closure of the bridge, which is connecting over two lakh population besides being vital for the movement of security forces, the officials said, adding all Udhampur-bound traffic has now to cover additional 18 km to reach the district headquarters. The BRO, which is looking after this road, has moved its men and machinery to ensure early restoration of the bridge, the officials said. Meanwhile, General Secretary Associate Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) Udhampur Vinod Kumar Gupta issuing a press note flayed BRO and local administration for not paying heed to repair the Birwan bridge which was already damaged for the last couple of months. Gupta said the bridge work as a mandatory bridge to connect and access northern command hospital, SKPA, Subsidiary BSF training center (STC) BSF Roun Domail, HQ 137 CRPF, and other end HQ northern command, HQ ITBP camp near village Pardano and many more vital army installation which are now cutoff.
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