| The crack on Bir Chilarai bridge. Picture by UB Photos |
Dhubri, Sept. 19: Free flow of traffic was disrupted on National Highway 31 since yesterday after a crack developed in one of the pillars of the Bir Chilarai bridge, dislodging a stone slab.
The bridge is a key link as the highway is one of the two roads which connects the Northeast with the rest of the country.
The part that developed the crack is on the right side in the middle of the 480 metre-long bridge in Dhubri district.
Officials from the Subdivisional National Highway Authority in Dhubri district had already inspected the bridge and barricaded the portion with boulders.
In view of the cracks on the pedestal of the bridge, it has been converted into a one-wayfor traffic, an official said.
Assistant engineer of Dhubri Subdivisional National Highway Authority, Majibar Rahman Pradhani, said the crack was in one of the pillars of the bridge.
“We have already inspected it and are sending plan and proposal with cost of repairing to higher authorities in Delhi for immediate sanction of funds,” Pradhani said.
Pradhani said the 34-year-old bridge was susceptible to developing cracks like these, and similar cracks have been noticed in some of the other bridges across Assam. He, however, added that it should be repaired at the earliest.
However, sources alleged that lack of proper maintenance was one of the reasons behind the trouble.
An official source said the Bir Chilarai bridge was constructed in 1978 at the cost of Rs 4.84 crore and till now (up to July, 2012) toll collected from the bridge amounted to Rs 14,51,23,042.
The state government had spent Rs 4.84 crore to build the bridge and by 2003-04, it earned Rs 5.77 crore, the sources pointed out.