BHAWANIPATNA: Six persons of two families had a lucky escape after the bridge over Atangaguda nullah caved in near Bhagirathi Park, around four km from Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district on Sunday.The six were travelling in two cars. Of them, two minors sustained injuries and have been admitted to Bhawanipatna government hospital. All of them belong to Nabarangpur district. They were on way to nearby Phurlijharan, a popular tourist spot.
The mishap took place in the afternoon. The two cars were passing the bridge when a portion of it gave away all of a sudden. The vehicles plunged down and were stuck in the collapsed bridge slab. Locals rushed to the mishap site and tried to pull out the people trapped in the cars. On being informed, police and fire service personnel reached the spot and rescued the six persons.
Sources said the route would normally have been busy but since it was Sunday, there was little traffic on the bridge when it collapsed. Built in 1925, the bridge connects Bhawanipatna with Thuamul Rampur and Kasipur. The 24-metre-long pre-Independence era bridge was constructed by the engineering department of the former princely State of Kalahandi. It has two-span stone pillars and iron T-beam girder slabs.
Following the incident, superintending engineer of Public Works department (PWD) Ajit Babu along with a team reached the spot and started restoration work. Babu said inspection of the bridge was carried out recently and it was found that the old structure was in distressed condition. The matter was also informed to higher authorities. However, the cause of the bridge collapse will be investigated.
“Work is underway on war-footing to lay a temporary road to restore connectivity on the route. A 40-metre-long bridge will soon be constructed at the place where the old bridge stands now,” he added.