The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and district administration of Malda on Sunday completed the near impossible task of repairing an approach road connecting to Mahananda Bridge on National Highway in Malda within seven hours. The bridge was quickly opened for plying of vehicles.
Mahananda Bridge acts as a vital connection between North and South Bengal. Each day thousands of vehicles, including buses and trucks carrying essential goods, take the bridge to cross the river. It was important to complete the repair work as early as possible to allow smooth flow of traffic.
The repair work started at around 10 pm on Sunday. Several engineers, hundreds of workers and heavy machineries were engaged to undertake the job. The desperate effort of all made it possible to complete the work within seven hours.
According to a senior official of the Regional Transport Authority in Malda, a major portion of an approach road connecting to the bridge was in a poor state and crossing it was a major risk.
However, it was not possible to stop the plying of vehicles as it would have affected the lives of many in both North and South Bengal districts. The bridge was needed to be kept open for heavy duty trucks carrying essential goods like medicine, milk and food grains to North Bengal. Trucks loaded with perishable items like fishes and fruits also take the same route as it is the shortest one to reach their destination to and from Kolkata.
It had been a challenge for the NHAI as well as the district administration. They held meeting and chalked out a plan to divert the vehicles through Gazole via Kaliachak. However, most vehicles avoided that route as it took more time to reach their destination.
Policemen were deployed to stop vehicles approaching the bridge from both directions. Many trucks had queued up and waited the entire night for the road to open.
Many drivers were apprehensive about the completion of the repair work, but the authorities surprisingly completed the work and opened the bridge before the scheduled time. Local people were also happy that the task was completed swiftly.