Overloaded trucks will cause Umiam dam bridge to collapse, locals

Overloaded trucks will cause Umiam dam bridge to collapse, locals

Shillong: Despite expert warnings and government restrictions, hundreds of trucks are overloading the Umiam Dam bridge in Meghalaya’s eastern Khasi Hills district, raising fears of a major disaster.
Locals alleged that these trucks, which often carry loads of up to 25 tonnes, ply at night with the alleged connivance of a section of policemen.
They suspect that some NGO workers are also involved in facilitating this illegal activity.
This blatant disregard for safety regulations has sparked outrage among residents, who fear a major disaster on the aging bridge.
Experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) had warned that the bridge, built in 1965, was not in a condition to bear the weight of heavy vehicles.
He recommended that the bridge be retrofitted before allowing heavy vehicles to ply on it.
In response to these concerns, the East Khasi Hills District Magistrate issued a prohibitory order in 2022, limiting the loading capacity of heavy vehicles to 15 tonnes.
However, this order has allegedly been blatantly flouted, putting the lives of the bridge and its users at risk.
Earlier in May 2022, the Meghalaya High Court had directed the state government to ban vehicles weighing more than 10 metric tonnes from plying on the bridge, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the Border Roads Organization (BRO).
Following the recommendations of The bridge may not be able to handle the current traffic load.
Locals have demanded an immediate probe into allegations of police complicity and NGO involvement in allowing overloaded trucks to ply on the bridge.

They have also demanded installation of high definition CCTV cameras to monitor vehicular movement and prevent illegal activities.
The Umiam Dam Bridge is an important lifeline for Meghalaya, connecting the state to several other northeastern states, including Assam.
Its collapse will have devastating effects on the region’s economy and infrastructure.

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