The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed a new permanent bridge on the river Ravi connecting Kasowal enclave in Punjab to the rest of the country, the government said in a statement on Thursday.

Till now, the enclave of around 35 square kilometres had hitherto been connected via pontoon bridge of limited load capacity.

That was not a permanent solution as the pontoon bridge used to be dismantled every year prior to the Monsoon or else it would have got washed away in the strong currents of the river.

“The 484-meter bridge was built by 141 Drain Maintenance Coy of 49 Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) of Project Chetak. The bridge costing Rs 17.89 crore excluding the approaches, consists of 16 cells of 30.25-metre length each,” Ministry of Defence said in a press note.

According to the Ministry, the BRO had planned to open the Kasowal bridge in time for Vaishakhi so that the farmers could transport their harvest to the market comfortably.

The 16th and last Cell Division was completed on March 15, 2020, and construction of protective works was under progress when the work came to a halt on March 23 due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it added.

Director General Border Roads (DGBR) Lt Gen Harpal Singh said The BRO teams did the work by taking all necessary COVID-19 precautions.

All available resources were diverted and approach work of far bank completed in a short time. On the first Monday after Vaisakhi, the bridge was opened for the farmers who transported their harvests on tractors to the market.