First the bad news. Large portions of the British-era Mangi Bridge that connects Salimgarh Fort on the east and the Red Fort on the west gave way late on Wednesday, the third time in three months.
Now for the silver lining. After years of bickering about who was responsible for the bridge, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Public Works Department (PWD) have reached a consensus.
ASI superintendent archaeologist KK Muhammed, who visited the spot on Thursday, said: “Our director-general KN Shrivastava has taken a decision that although the bridge is not a protected monument, the ASI will repair and conserve it.” The reason is that it links two heritage monuments.
The bridge stands above one of the busiest arterial roads in the Capital. It provides an important north-south passage to cars, inter-state buses and heavy motor vehicles.
Sources said portions of the central arch of the bridge gave way around midnight, and the debris blocked vehicles en route to the Inter-State Bus Terminal at Kashmere Gate and beyond.
“At around 6, we were woken by the sound of a bulldozer scraping the rubble off the road and dumping it on the divider adjacent to it,” said Sanjeev Kumar, owner of a rickshaw stand near Hanuman Temple.
“The same thing happened in April,” said Arpit Didwania, who takes the Ring Road daily.
“We... have decided to divert traffic.... But ultimately rehabilitation and conservation... falls under the ASI’s ambit,” said AK Sinha, acting chief engineer, PWD.