Collapse Of British Era Bridge In AP Paralyses Traffic Movement On NH From Odisha

Berhampur: A bridge built during the British rule near Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border collapsed during the early hours of Wednesday, paralysing movement of vehicular traffic on busy National Highway 5.

According to sources, the bridge, located close to Ichapuram town in Andhra, collapsed when a granite-laden trailer truck was crossing it. The truck, carrying 70 tonne of granite stone, was heading towards Palasa.

When the truck was crossing the bridge, one of its tyres got punctured and its driver and helper alighted to change it after parking the vehicle on the bridge. Suddenly, a portion of the bridge caved in under the heavy load of granite and the truck plunged into the dry river.

However, its driver and helper escaped with minor injuries. On being informed, police reached the spot and started investigation.

The bridge was used by the people of Patrapur and Chikiti blocks in Ganjam district to go to Andhra through Ichapuram. The bridge connected many Odisha villages with Ichchapuram and was the shortest route from Patrapur of Ganjam to Andhra.

In the past, Andhra officials had repaired the bridge several times and even instructed heavy vehicles not to ply over it. However, due to lack of supervision, heavy vehicles including passenger buses continued to use the bridge, sources said.

Though another bridge was built on Bahuda river on NH 5 decades ago, the people of Patrapur and Chikiti have to travel more than 3 km on the alternative route to go to Andhra. They have been demanding construction of a new bridge at the same place where it collapsed.

Since the NH is a busy route, the bridge collapse has led to massive traffic jams and delays. The authorities have advised motorists to use alternative routes.

The bridge was built by King Bahadur Ramchandra Mardaraj Dev of Khallikote 94 years ago and inaugurated by Governor of Madras CJ Coschen on February 5, 1929.

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