Over century-old bridge collapses in Himachal, 3 injured

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Shimla, Aug 24: The 110-year-old Bailey bridge near Solan connecting the key tourist destination of Chail collapsed as an overloaded truck was crossing it.  

The truck, loaded with apple boxes approximately weighing 20 tonnes, plunged into Ashwani Khud yesterday, leaving three persons injured. The Bridge had carrying capacity of nine tonnes but the trucker ignored the warning and violated the safety norms, resulting in the mishap, District Collector, Solan Madan Chauhan said.

The Bridge was constructed by former Maharaj of Patiala during the British era and a Kolkata based British firm completed the work in 1904. It is located at Sadhupul, 48 km from Solan. A case of damage to public property has been registered against the trucker and a temporary route from river bed has been carved out for light vehicles.

The traffic came to a stand-still due to collapse of the bridge Khud and workers and machinery have been deployed to improve the temporary route, Principal Secretary (PWD), Narinder Chauhan, said. Chauhan said that a bailey bridge would soon be constructed and material and spare parts for the same were being arranged from Subathu in Solan district and Jubbal in Shimla district.

These were already available with the department and men and machinery would be on the job soon, he added. The department was considering putting up a proposal to the government to notify fresh norms for heavy vehicles/ trucks, keeping in view the geographical and topographical condition of the state, sources said.

The truckers are diverting from Kufri-Chail road and carrying heavy loads thorough the bridge as it was the shortest route with very little traffic. The widening and upgradation of Kufri-Chail road has led to increase in number of trucks plying on Sadhupul Bridge as there was no check either by police or by any agency, Engineer-in-Chief, Naresh Sharma said, adding that trucks and other heavy vehicles should be allowed to ply only on specified roads.

The construction of the bridge had coincided with commissioning of Shimla-Kalka Railway line and goods for Maharaja were transported by road from Kandaghat Railway station to Chail via this bridge. The BJP government had prepared a plan to construct a lake at Sadhupul in 199 but the proposal was later dropped due to objections from environmentalists.


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