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Bumpy ride on battered bridge to elite city

- Poor upkeep for two years, no vehicle load restriction tell on health of arterial NH-33 link

Potholes and craters have resurfaced on Jayprakash Narayan Setu to haunt visitors of Jamshedpur, apparently the country’s first planned township.

Better known as Mango bridge, the 800-metre gateway to the steel city from NH-33 is dotted with ugly warts on both lanes this monsoon owing to shoddy maintenance for the past two years.

In 2012, Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco had plugged the potholes following a request from the East Singhbhum district administration. However, traffic burden — more than 1,50,000 private, public and commercial vehicles ply on the bridge every day — poor upkeep and heavy rain have once again triggered the bumpy rides.

The Rs 6-crore bridge was built in 1996 by the undivided Bihar government. It came under the jurisdiction of the state road construction department after Jharkhand was born in 2000 and, currently, connects the city to densely populated Mango and NH-33. Almost all long-distance buses from Sitaramdera terminus to Odisha, Bengal and Bihar as well as Ranchi and other parts of the state use the bridge.

Traffic DSP R.M. Sinha pointed out the big bane. “On every bridge, there are load restrictions. Unfortunately, for Mango bridge there is none. Trailers carrying more than 60 tonnes of consignment for big industries like Tata Steel cross the bridge regularly. If there is such heavy traffic pressure on an elevated structure, it needs to be maintained every few months, which is not the case here. Mango bridge hasn’t seen repairs in two years,” he said.

Sinha added that heavy vehicles often break down on the bridge and lead to traffic bottlenecks. Doctors agreed and said that the perennial jam sessions had prompted them to seek shifting of MGM Medical College and Hospital from Sakchi to the MGM Medical College campus in Dimna.

“The bridge is a pain. We doctors who have to shuttle between college and hospital, a distance of 7km, have a harrowing time. We made a representation before health secretary B.K. Tripathy on Sunday,” said MGM college principal A.N. Mishra who doubles up as the hospital superintendent.

Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan maintained that the bridge did not come under their command area. “We had repaired potholes and craters on behalf of the administration two years ago. We cannot do so every time and before there are specific requests.”

Jamshedpur West MLA and Congress leader Banna Gupta promised to take up the matter with the district administration. “I will request the deputy commissioner to arrange for immediate and long-lasting repairs,” he said.

Additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar promised quick remedy. “We will check matters with the road construction department, which is responsible for bridge maintenance, and seek immediate repairs,” he said.