PWD starts Balason bridge repair
The state public works department has initiated the task of installing iron reinforcements to ease the load of a damaged pillar of the Balason river bridge and restore normal traffic ahead of the monsoon.
On October 20 last year, after an intensive downpour in the region, the swollen waters of the Balason had damaged one of the pillars of the bridge — located on NH10 and along the principal entry point to Siliguri. In December, a Bailey bridge was installed on the damaged portion through which vehicles are allowed to move in single file.
Later, an alternative diversion was made by setting up hume pipes over the river, which facilitated movement of heavy vehicles along the route. Even now, most buses and trucks take a turnaround route via Naukaghat, located on the southern end of Siliguri, to move towards Bagdogra and vice-versa.
“We will install iron reinforcements on both sides of the damaged pillar. Once the reinforcements are ready, the Bailey bridge would be removed. We want to finish the repair works ahead of the rainy season as the river would swell during that time,” said an official of NHIX, the division of the state PWD, that maintains the highway.
“Because of the damage, a portion of the (bridge’s) deck had subsided by around a foot. We have initiated the work and will install a jack to bring back the deck to the normal level. The work will continue round the clock as we want to finish it within the next 90 days. The idea is to restore normal traffic movement along the bridge ahead of the monsoons,” the official added.
For the repair works, the state has sanctioned around Rs 2 crore, said sources.
The Centre has announced that two new bridges would come up over the Balason river. Sources said the announcement is part of the four-laning project between Balason and Sevoke Military Station (located on the northeast of Siliguri) via Darjeeling More for which Rs 995.04 crore has been sanctioned by the Union ministry of road transport and highways.