Staff Correspondent

The overbridge developed cracks a year ago

TUMKUR: A portion of the four-lane overbridge on the Bangalore-Pune National Highway (No.4) at Dobespet, 20 km from here, collapsed on Thursday.

The people of Dobespet and its surrounding areas staged a protest and blocked traffic on the remaining portion of the overbridge.

They were angry that neither the officials of the National Highways Authority of India (whose office is located in Bangalore) nor those of the company, which built the overbridge and had been operating it on a toll basis, visited the spot. People feared that the remaining portion of the overbridge would collapse any time.

Cordoned off

While the NHAI officials were unavailable for comments, a junior staff at the company that built the bridge, refused to discuss the issue saying that he had not been authorised to speak to the press. He, however, cordoned off the affected portion of the overbridge and diverted the traffic.

The overbridge is a part of the prestigious Golden Quadrilateral Highway project. It is stated to be the first of its kind and dimension in Asia. Local people said the overbridge had developed cracks almost a year ago.

But repairs had not been done.

The overbridge was commissioned in early 2004. First, lumps of roof castings fell on the ground.

A patch measuring approximately 10 feet X 12 feet was affected. Police tried in vain to persuade the people to withdraw their protest.

The protesters accused the police and officials of conniving with the toll company and neglecting the maintenance of the 35-km stretch of the toll road, including the overbridge.

They alleged that the quality of construction was poor.