Exposing the callous attitude of the officials and contractors towards public safety, one of the bridges on the Container Road developed a hole on Wednesday. Constructed just over a year ago, the Kothad-Moolampilly Bridge on the NH 47-C-connecting Kalamassery to the International Container Transshipment Terminal in Vallarpadam - was closed to traffic after passengers detected a hole on the middle of the bridge at 6 pm.
With the water beneath visible through the hole, the thin layer of concreting on the bridge used by heavy vehicles points to the possibility of other bridges along the route being just as brittle. “The middle portion of the bridge already had cracks. Today, when a car passed over the cracked area, the entire portion had fallen off into the lake. One of the car’s wheels got stuck in the hole. The vehicle owners called the locals and informed the police. Later, the car was removed with the help of local residents,” said Dasan, a Kothad native. Now, traffic has been restricted to the parallel bridge on the four-lane stretch, a police official said. It has also been learnt that incensed residents had sent back NHAI officials and contractors concerned who had come to inspect the spot.“They came with a concrete mixing machine. But they had to step away from the area due to the intervention of the people. We informed the media to ensure that the incident was brought to light or it may have been suppressed by the authorities,” a local, who did not want to be named, said.The residents in the area have condemned the incident.
Social activist Francis Kalathungal said that it was a serious issue.
“Hundreds of container trucks pass through the area. Such an incident must be inquired by the authorities. This is a clear pointer to corruption in the bridge construction. It appears that sufficient quantity of quality material has not been used in the construction of the bridge,” he said.
A two-lane stretch of the road was commissioned in February 2011 considering the emergency prevailing at the time of ICTT’s commissioning.The construction of the entire four lane stretch of the 17.2-km-long NH 47-C is scheduled to be completed only by May 2014.