The continuous heavy rains have increased the danger of a traffic halt on the GT Road (NH 2), connecting seven states, as the two earthen diversions on Karmnasha river are eroding.
Water level in the hilly river is rising after the constant rain spells in its catchment area. Meanwhile, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is yet to construct the temporary steel bridge planned as an alternative for commute during rainy season.
Adding to the problem, the inter-state truckers and passenger vehicles are already facing heavy traffic jam due to overloaded sand trucks being illegally operated on the bridge.
The problem started on December 28 when three out of total five pillars of the bridge on Karmnasha, demarcating the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, started developing cracks. The middle pillar was severely damaged as its both shoulders were cracked.
“The 10-year-old four-lane bridge was constructed by PCL Company and was handed over to the NHAI in 2009,” Rajan Chaturvedi, NHAI toll point in-charge said.
“The illegal sand overloading business rampant on the GT road from Bihar to UP is the main cause behind the damage of bridge,” an official from NHAI technical team arrived to access the damage, had said.
Traffic was reinstated on the NH after 10 days when two earthen diversions were made on both sides of the damaged bridge.
The NHAI also started construction of a 150m long and 8.5m wide two-lane steel bridge with an estimated cost of ₹11 crore to maintain the traffic in the rainy season when the strong river current would wash away the earthen diversions.This all was under alternative arrangements before the NHAI could repair or replace the regular four-lane bridge.
NHAI technical manager Nagesh Kumar said that the work on steel bridge and approach roads on its both sides was going on war footing and was in the last stage.Talking about the illegal sand transportation, Kumar said,“Cases have been registered against nine sand loaded truck owners who had intentionally narrowed the lane near the entrance to cross the bridge during the night to dodge the UP police strict drive against overloading.”
“The work on the bridge will be completed and it will be opened for traffic on July 1, if the weather situations are favourable,” he added.Meanwhile, heavy jam continued on seventh consecutive day on the southern lane of the NH approaching Uttar Pradesh.
The traffic extended from Karmnasha to Mohania and thousands of trucks and other vehicles, including ambulances were seen struck in the 20km long jam.
Meanwhile, the NHAI officials were trying to resolve the jam with help of local police.
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