Rail traffic was disrupted for hours after a truck load with sand fell on the railway track after the side ramp of Bhandari Bridge collapsed on Friday.
The incident took place at about 6am when a truck was crossing Bhandari Bridge from the Cooper Road side. Instead of taking the centre of the bridge, the truck driver used the ramp meant for small vehicles.
As soon as the truck reached the side ramp, it collapsed and the truck in the middle of the railway track. No casualty was reported as the driver of the truck jumped out and probably fled the spot.
The side portion of the bridge was badly damaged and high-voltage wires above the railway track were also broken.
As soon as the news about the bridge collapse spread, there was panic among locals as the bridge is a lifeline of the city.
Although heavily-loaded trucks are banned on the bridge, especially on the side ramps, the traffic police who have a post a few metre away failed to keep a check.
The incident halted the rail traffic on the Amritsar-Delhi and Amritsar-Pathankot routes for several hours. Although a number of people from the railway authorities and local administration were put on the job, it took hours to clear the track.
It was after four hours that the Amritsar-Delhi track was cleared and about a dozen trains that were affected on the route started moving. However, only diesel engines could move as the electricity wires were damaged.
The Amritsar-Pathankot route was blocked till going to the press and work was on to remove the truck from the track till Friday evening.
The traffic on Bhandari Bridge remained affected throughout the day as there were regular jams.
Expansion plans remain on paper
Many a time, the government had announced that Bhandari Bridge will be widened but nothing has been done in this regard till date. Although traffic in the city has increased manifold in the city and the bridge takes a lot of load, the expansion plans have remained on paper only.
Rigoh Bridge also in a bad shape
Rigoh Bridge, another vital bridge in the city, is also in a very bad shape. Although it has been damaged at many places, it only gets minor repairs from time to time.