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Siwane diversion to be closed

Hazaribagh, Oct. 25: The Siwane diversion, inaugurated on January 23, is in poor shape and will be temporarily closed to traffic within the next 24 hours so that repairs can be carried out.

The diversion is part of the Ranchi-Patna NH-33 and is used by 30,000 heavy vehicles daily. At a meeting attended by deputy commissioner Ravindra Kumar Agarwal, superintendent of police Pankaj Kamboj and NHAI officials today, it was decided to shut the diversion for urgent repairs.

Officials said the poor condition of the diversion was leading to massive traffic snarls everyday and there was no other alternative but to close the stretch temporarily. This will mean a 100km detour for vehicles headed to Patna from Ranchi via Vishnugarh.

On September 7 last year, the Siwane bridge on the stretch had to be closed to traffic after one of the pillars sank by at least two feet, making it unsafe for use.

At an estimated cost of Rs 80 lakh, a new diversion was constructed, that was inaugurated in January this year. But in the last nine months, the 420m long and 7m wide diversion, including a 10-metre-long bridge on Siwane river, has developed cracks at several places.

Moreover, in July this year, a heavy downpour led to the bridge being inundated, which resulted in the death of one person besides affecting traffic movement for hours.

After the meeting, Kamboj confirmed that the diversion would be closed for repairs in the next 24 hours. He said the slope of the diversion was not right. Due to this, vehicles often broke down while negotiating it. This in turn led to traffic jams.

Kamboj said as the panchayat elections were round the corner, the concerned department had been directed to complete the work within four or five days.

Sources said heavy vehicles would have to take the Vishnugarh stretch in the meantime, which is a Maoist stronghold. But smaller vehicles will use the old Siwane bridge.

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