ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi authorities in Kirkuk on Friday re-opened the Altun Kupri (Pirde) Bridge, the main pathway connecting Kirkuk and Erbil, four days after it closed for maintenance.
The Iraqi government on Sunday announced the three-day closure for road repairs.
“The closure was for three days, but the maintenance work took longer than the announced period,” a member of the maintenance team told Kurdistan 24 on Friday.
Previously, Pirde had a double-sided bridge but both sides were destroyed in clashes between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces backed by Shia militias on Oct. 16, 2017.
The road was closed for 10 months and opened in mid-August after a series of meetings between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq.
Both governments agreed to rebuild one of the bridges as a temporary solution.
The bridge is 32 meters long and seven meters wide. It was supposed to be used for six months until the other bridge was fully renovated.
The strategic road connecting the two provinces of Kirkuk and Erbil is also the main highway for Iraqis and Kurds traveling between the autonomous Kurdistan Region and other central and southern provinces of Iraq.
Kirkuk is a disputed territory claimed by the KRG and the Iraqi federal government. The oil-rich province has a diverse population made of Turkmens, Arabs, and Christians, with a Kurdish majority. Since October 2017, the province had been under the control of the Iraqi government
Editing by Nadia Riva