It shakes when heavy vehicles pass over it
After Rourkela has reopened post-lockdown, the condition of the Brahmani bridge has begun to worry the public again.
Heavy vehicles that travel between the mines and the industrial areas have increased the risk of the bridge collapsing. “The bridge has been deteriorating for 12 years,” SN Chaterjee, a daily commuter on the bridge. “The bridge is too shaky and, under such heavy load, may collapse anytime.”
According to a Kalinga TV report, a portion of the bridge had developed a crack in May this year. The crack was repaired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), but commuters were unhappy. Even though the crack has been repaired, iron plates of the bridge are exposed in a few places. The bridge shakes when heavy vehicles pass over it.
“Long traffic jams on NH-143, especially the Brahmani bridge, create a lot of issues for us,” Binikesh Mohanty, an engineering student from Burla who lives nearby, said. “Not only the bridge, but also the condition of the entire NH-143 is very bad. The traffic jams are mostly due to the bad condition of the road.”
Tapan Parida, another commuter, said not much progress has been made on a new bridge whose construction began in 2018. Work stopped for a few months due to the pandemic. “Still, we really wish that the construction will be completed soon, so that we can get rid of the death trap.”
The existing bridge, which connects Hockey Square and Vedvyas Square, is called a death trap.
NH-143 is in no good condition either. It is filled with potholes. Due to continuous heavy traffic, there is a lot of dust in the area which gets into people’s eyes. The condition becomes worse during the rainy season. The whole road becomes muddy and slippery. Many people had a narrow escape as their vehicles skidded.
PN Pradhan, inspector-in-charge, Raghunathpalli police station, said: “Traffic in the area is at its peak during the evening. Many two-wheelers climb the footpath. There is a high chance they may fall down the bridge; many such accidents have occurred in the past.”
Potholes near the bridge are one of the main reasons for traffic jams.
According to data from the Raghunathpalli police station, there have been 19 accidents on NH-143 in 2020. Of these, six took place near the bridge, including an accident on the bridge. In 2019, 22 accidents occurred on NH-143, 10 of them near the bridge and one on the bridge.
Sourabh Chaurasia, Project Director, NHAI, shared: “Earlier there were some issues with the people of Dandiapalli regarding land acquisition which delayed the construction of the new bridge. We were later able to acquire the land with the help of the district administration.”
Due to the lockdown, the required resources could not be transported to the construction site.
Chaurasia said that the construction of the new bridge is a part of the four-laning project of the highway from Biramitrapur to Brahmani Bypass End section of NH-23. Work on it will be completed by December 2021.
According to data provided by NHAI, the bridge was constructed between 1952 and 1960 by the state government. It connects Rourkela to ore-rich Rajgangpur and Biramitrapur, and also to Jharsuguda and Sambalpur. It is also the only route from Panposh and other villages and towns to Rourkela. It is the only route from Rourkela to the Vedvyas temple and ghat, a major religious site and cremation ground. Even patients being taken to hospital and bodies taken for cremation are held up on the bridge due to heavy traffic.