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Detour to skirt cave-in on NH31A

Kalimpong, July 15: Vehicles travelling between Siliguri at one end and Kalimpong and Sikkim at the other end of NH31A will be diverted tomorrow as the highway will be closed at Likhubhir near here to enable the Border Roads Organisation to lay a Bailey bridge.

Vehicles will have to take alternative roads to reach their destinations.

Light vehicles going to and coming from Siliguri can take the Teesta-Peshok-Jorebunglow road, while heavy vehicles can take the Damdim-Lava-Algarah route.

The highway has to be shut as a 15ft stretch has caved in partially at Likhubhir, 18km down from Kalimpong.

Both up and down vehicles had to line up at either end of the road at Likhubhir and negotiate the stretch in a single file alternately today. The highway started sinking metre by metre since July 7 and last night’s heavy rain rendered the stretch suitable for only one-way traffic.

Sources in the BRO, which maintains NH31A, said it had decided to build the Bailey bridge because of the fear that the tenacious road link could snap completely in the event of further rain.

Navin Kumar, the commander of the 764 Border Road Task Force, a wing of the BRO, today said: “The bridge will be about 50 feet to 60 feet long. It can take the load of heavy vehicles weighing up to 60 to 70 tons.”

He said work on laying the bridge would start at 5am tomorrow and it would be over by late afternoon or evening.