Illegal sand mining is to blame for damaged Palghar bridge
The public works department in Palghar has said that illegal sand mining is what caused cracks in the bridge over Vaitarna river in Palghar.
The bridge, which was shut down for heavy vehicles in December 2014, had developed cracks in its foundation. It would be open for all vehicles by May 2018. Narendra Patil, a Palghar resident, had observed cracks in the bridge’s foundation and informed the PWD back in December 2014. Since then they had banned heavy from entering the bridge, which had tilted to one side owing to rampant illegal sand mining, despite the HC banning such activities,said Rahul Vasaikar, executive engineer, PWD, Palghar.
The pillars were strained owing to the uneven river bed, Vasaikar said. The sand mafia from Vasai,Virar, Navi Mumbai and Thane are responsible for the bad condition of the bridge as they used suction pumps to remove sand from the riverbed, he added.
A team of PWD officials from the Mantralaya, and civil engineers from IIT-Bombay had also inspected the bridge to determine the extent of the damage. Cars and other light vehicles are currently being allowed on the bridge, but authorities may bar all traffic if they discover extensive damage,he said.
The bridge was constructed in 1988 to link tribal hamlets in the area. State transport buses alone used to make 25 to 30 trips through the bridge.