Though the local residents have claimed that the colonial bridge near Mahad In Raigad district that collapsed was in a poor condition, and that the government had been warned to stop it for vehicular traffic, the state administration has claimed that the colonial bridge was in good condition and hence was kept operational.
Public works minister (MSRDC) Eknath Shinde called for a survey of all the 36 colonial bridges on the Mumbai-Goa Highway for a structural audit in the next 15 days.
Chandrakant Patil, PWD minister said that the last assessment of this bridge was done in May by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). “NHAI had declared it to be safe for use just two months back. That’s why it had not been closed to the traffic,’’ said Patil.
“We conduct reviews and assessments of the bridges and flyovers before monsoon every year. As per our reports the bridge that collapsed was in good condition and hence it was in operation. We also had constructed a substitute bridge with one lane of each of them in service. We will conduct a fresh review to find out the cause of accident,” said Ashish Kumar Singh, principal secretary, Public Works Department. Mahad MLA (Shiv Sena) Bharat Gogawale has however claimed that the bridge was more than a 100 years old and the British company that constructed it had warned the state government.
“In a letter from the British government to its Indian counterpart few years ago, it was clearly stated that the bridge built during British rule has expired its life and needs to be replaced. Its beyond imagination why the old bridge was kept in operation despite having constructed a parallel one,” Gogawale said.