ROURKELA: Blame it on administrative apathy or absence of concern, even after 13 months of inauguration by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the new Tainsor-Timjor bridge in Lathikata block nearby remains unused despite the traffic chaos on the old dilapidated NH 143 bridge at Panposh.
The Rural Development (RD) Department had constructed the new bridge keeping in view large-scale industrial and mining operations in Sundargarh district as the movement of heavy commercial vehicles continues throughout this route. But even after completion, the bridge has remained unused reportedly due to narrow approach roads to it. Even after the concern was flagged, no corrective action has been taken yet.
Rourkela Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RCCI) President Pravin Garg said months ago the district administration was suggested diverting mining and industrial goods-carrying vehicles to the Tainsor-Timjor bridge to take the Kalunga road so that the Brahmani bridge can be spared the congestion.
“Apparently the new bridge could not be utilized due to narrow approach roads,” Garg stated. Being the only gateway to Rourkela city from the west, the old bridge connects the district’s largest private hospital, while the Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH), RSP-run Ispat General Hospital and all other private large and small hospitals are located on the eastern end of Brahmani river.
With the only bridge being overcrowded ambulances carrying critical patients often get stuck. As a temporary relief Sundargarh Collector and Road Transport Authority Chairman Nikhil Pawan Kalyan had restricted plying of empty or loaded heavy to medium goods vehicles between 9 am and 11 am and 4.30 am and 8 pm from March 1 to 29 on the old bridge. However, commuters are disgruntled.
A daily commuter Kameswar Chaudhary said the traffic congestion situation on the Brahmani bridge has aggravated in last 15 years. The cracks on the bridge are stark pointing to the degree of dilapidation. Newly-elected Lathikata block chairman Dilip Xess said light vehicles are being diverted through the new Timjor-Tainsor bridge. “Work on widening the approach road at Bolani village has already started to make the new bridge fully functional,” Xess stated.