The truck that fell from Bijulia overbridge in Ramgarh on Friday. (Pankaj Priyadarshi)
A Ranchi-bound truck jumped off an overbridge on NH-33 and fell on tracks in Ramgarh in the small hours of Friday, in an accident that left the erring driver severely injured and rendered a number trains in the Ramgarh-Muri section stranded for hours.
Also, the mishap threw traffic on the Ranchi-Patna Highway, considered lifeline of the state, haywire for several hours.
The speeding truck (registration no. BR25D8155) was on its way to collieries in Khelari of Ranchi district around 3.30am when driver Sunil Kumar lost control and rammed into the 3-ft concrete railing of the Bijulia overbridge, around 40km from the state capital.
The railing of the 100-year-old bridge couldn’t sustain the impact and the vehicle landed on a loop line, snapping overhead high-tension wires, just off Ramgarh cantonment station.
Officials from the station rushed Sunil to Ramgarh sadar hospital with serious head injuries. His condition is stated to be stable now.
Later, in his statement to police, Sunil, who was driving non-stop from Jamunia of Bengal, conceded that he had dozed off while driving. He was alone in the empty truck.
“Everything happened in a few seconds. I was feeling drowsy. Suddenly, I lost control and went on to hit against the railing and fell from the bridge,” he recalled.
Ramgarh cantonment stationmaster M.S. Khan said hydra machines were pressed into action to remove the truck from the tracks. Barkakana-Agra Passenger, Jammu Tawi Express and four goods trains remained stranded outside the Ramgarh cantonment station for five hours. The services resumed after the lines were cleared around 7am.
However, it took police over seven-eight hours to normalise the traffic on the highway. Sources said around 25,000-30,000 vehicles passed through the bridge every day and witnessed heavy flow of traffic almost round the clock.
The administration put up a temporary barricade in front of the broken portion of the railing and deployed a constable to avert any incident.
District officials admitted that the narrow Bijulia overbridge was a nightmare for commuters. “A bypass of the NH-33 is under construction via Kaitha on the outskirts of Ramgarh town. Once ready, it will reduce the pressure on the bridge,” said a senior administrative official.