The iconic suspension bridge Lakshman Jhula, which extends across the river Ganges in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand and connects the two villages of Tapovan in Tehri Garhwal district and Jonk in Pauri Garhwal district, was on Friday closed to traffic due to fear it might collapse as it cannot sustain more load.

Officials revealed that a team of experts recommended closure of the bridge to pedestrian and all traffic after finding that parts of the structure were in a bad condition and on the verge of collapsing.

Additional Chief Secretary Om Prakash said the team recommended immediate closure of the bridge to all traffic and pedestrian movement as it was not in a condition to sustain any more load.

There has been an unprecedented rise in traffic and pedestrian movement along the bridge in recent times and the bridge towers appear to be leaning towards one side, he said.

The decision was taken as keeping it operational could have been risky, the official said.

“It is highly recommended that the bridge should be closed with immediate effect otherwise any big mishap can take place anytime,” the team of experts had said in its report to authorities.

Built in 1923 over the Ganga river, Lakshman Jhula is an iconic landmark in this city of Uttarakhand that is renowned as a center for studying yoga and meditation.

One of the main attractions for tourists and devotees coming to Rishikesh, the pedestrian bridge also used by two-wheelers was named after Hindu mythological character Lakshman as it stands where he is said to have crossed the river with the help of jute ropes.

Many successful Hindi movies and serials like Ganga Ki Saugandh, Sanyasi and popular detective serial CID have been shot at the Lakshman Jhula.

With Inputs From PTI