By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 12: The Irang bailey bridge of Imphal-Jiribam highway sank partially at around 1 pm today. As a result, loaded goods carriers as well as passenger vehicles heading toward Imphal from Jiribam have taken a detour towards Rengpang, Khoupum of Old Cachar Road.
Meanwhile, it is reported that Imphal-Tamenglong road has been cut off by mudslide at T Waichong.
Notably, construction of maintenance of Imphal-Jiribam Highway (NH 37) is done by National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) which is a public undertaking of the Government of India.
However, NHIDCL has not yet made a comment on the sinking of Irang bailey bridge.
Nonetheless, some PWD engineers said that it was not snapping of the bridge but sinking of one of the bridge’s foundations which made the bailey bridge slanted and twisted.
Although no PWD engineer has inspected the bridge, some engineers, after seeing video footages and photographs of the sunken bridge, expressed strong belief that one of the bridge’s foundations has sunk at the impact of the river’s rising current.
The engineers who constructed the bailey bridge should have made proper assessment of how deep the water current can go underneath the bridge’s foundations when the river’s water volume and current rise.
The foundations should be deeper than the depth to which the current can make its way through the river bed, the PWD engineers said.
If the twisting/slanting of the bridge is due to sinking of its foundation because of the river current gushing beneath it, the foundation would require re-construction and one would have to wait for the water level to come down considerably if the foundation must be re-constructed, they said.
In another word, it would take a long time if the foundation must be re- constructed, they opined.
Another source informed that the NHIDCL, suspicious about the fitness of Irang bailey bridge, considered about putting restrictions on loaded vehicles some seven/eight days back.
All types of vehicles were prohibited from crossing the bridge since this morning and it averted accidents/casualties, the source added.
Meanwhile, Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam said that the Government has been communicating with NHIDCL to repair Irang bridge so as to restore traffic along the highway as soon as possible.
As Irang bridge has sunk, vehicles may take Old Cachar Road (Tongjei Maril) even though heavy loaded vehicles may damage the road for its bitumen lay is not thick enough, Govindas said. He then appealed to all the drivers/transporters to take Old Cachar Road even if the road is damaged.
Govindas Konthoujam said that mankind will continue to face different types of natural calamities as long as people continue with deforestation activities in the hills. Meanwhile, a notification issued by the Noney Deputy Commissioner has asked all transporters/drivers except heavy vehicles to take Old Cachar Road from Khoupum to Jiribam through Rengpang.
Vehicular movement has been affected on many roads in Noney and Tamenglong districts due to landslides/mudslides triggered by heavy rainfall and subsequent rise in the water levels of Barak, Makru, Irang, Ijei, Iril and Leimatak rivers.
Imphal-Tamenglong road has been cut off by mudslide at T Waichong.
On the other hand, Transport Director Dr Nivedita Lairenlakpam issued an order yesterday whereby movement of loaded vehicles in excess of the maximum gross vehicle weight of 24 MT is prohibited from crossing the distressed Motbung bridge along Imphal-Kohima highway.