Arecent accident on the bridge across Mahanadi at Bhutamundei along the NH 5(A) has yet again drawn focus to the dilapidated condition and need for repair of the bridge. It does not have proper lighting, there are cracks and potholes and over 2,000 mineral laden lorries, buses and other heavy vehicles use it carrying ore to Paradip port.

Yet the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has not bothered to maintain the bridge. There has been a phenomenal rise in mineral transport increasing the load on the 50 year old bridge. The fog leading to poor visibility, potholes etc may have caused the accident two days ago when the truck rammed in to the concrete frame and fell in to the river.

Iron rods from inside the concrete slabs are protruding from the road surface. The exposed iron rods are posing a threat to motorists. The NHAI has also repeatedly warned against allowing overloaded vehicles on the river bridge.

Chairman Paradip Port Trust, Rinkesh Roy said in view of the traffic congestion, the port has proposed to invest Rs 140 crore to construct a bypass road from Balijhari to Gate no 2 of the port. “We have asked the NHAI to expedite the project so that it reduces the traffic on NH 5 (A).” said the chairman.