The Telegraph
Thursday , February 11 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bridge turns danger zone

A large chunk of the paved road on the 710m-long Vivekananda Setu, or Bally bridge, has worn out near the middle, forcing vehicles to slow down and resulting in snarls during rush hour.

The worn-out portion —across the entire width of the flank used by Calcutta-bound vehicles — is gradually expanding, with the metal framework under the paved road becoming visible.

“A small crack had appeared over three months ago. But since no one cared to repair it, the crack is widening,” said Pritha Chatterjee, a Bally resident who frequently uses the bridge.

The metal framework under the paved road, which lies under the top bituminous layer and the second layer of concrete, has become visible.

Two-wheeler riders are the worst hit. “We move through a small strip on the extreme left. Anyone not aware of the condition of the road will meet with an accident while speeding through the worn-out area,” said a motorcyclist.

Regular commuters also complained that the bridge was not well lit. “Using the bridge is even more dangerous at night. The authorities have not erected any board to alert commuters about the road condition,” said Dutta.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was entrusted with maintaining Vivekananda Setu two years back. “We are responsible for the upkeep of the road on the bridge but we have not been able to take charge because of some internal problems,” said an official of NHAI in Calcutta.

“The public works department did some repairs over the past two years. We have reimbursed the amount,” he added.

At present any repair work on the bridge has to be undertaken by the NHAI. “We undertook some repairs on the road when the President came to Calcutta in December,” said Binoy Majumdar, the executive engineer of the PWD’s National Highway I division.

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