DEOGARH:Movement of vehicular traffic on busy National Highway 49 connecting Mumbai with Kolkata came to a grinding halt after a bridge over Bengasua Nullah, about five km from here, caved in due to incessant rain in the wee hours of Saturday.
As the authorities closed the bridge for communication, hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the bridge.
Executive Engineer, Deogarh NH Division, Chittaranjan Dash said one of the piers on which the bridge stands got damaged due to heavy downpour. As a result, there was a depression on the bridge making movement over it risky. Since reconstruction of the bridge will take some time, they have decided to construct a diversion road to facilitate movement of vehicles on the NH.
Dash said construction work of the diversion road will be taken up immediately but it will take minimum 10 days before being opened for traffic. An alternative route is being worked out for movement of the vehicles during the period.
The bridge was more than five decades old and the police and district administration have been informed about the incident. Steps were being taken to detour the vehicles.
Till the diversion road is restored, the vehicles will be diverted from Sambalpur via Angul to touch the NH at Pallahara.
Informing that the district received 102 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, District Emergency Officer of Deogarh, Basant Kumar Dash said Deogarh Municipality area received as high as 195.04 mm of rainfall during the period which led to the collapse of the old bridge.
The heavy rain has damaged 230 houses in Deogarh Municipal limits, 20 houses in Barkote block and sand casting has been reported from over 17.1 hectares of paddy field.
Considered a major road for commercial vehicles, the breach in the bridge would cost the truckers dear.
Thousands of vehicles ply on the highway on a daily basis and the NH Division will have to work hard to restore communication.
Deogarh Additional District Magistrate Bhakta Charan Pradhan, Sub-Collector Bimalendu Mishra and Tehsildar Subrat Nayak rushed to the spot where the bridge had caved in and took stock of the situation.
They also held discussion with Executive Engineer, NH Division to find a way for movement and regulation of the traffic.