Manipur’s lifeline national highway 37 was virtually cut off on Monday after an overloaded truck caused a major crack in Bailey Bridge across the Barak river in Tamenglong district on Monday. Officials said that over 200 Imphal-bound trucks and 20 oil tankers remained stranded as a result. Smaller vehicles were using an old bridge to reach Imphal.
Suspenders and panels of the Bailey Bridge’s eastern end broke when an overloaded 10-wheeler truck was trying to cross it on its way to Imphal. National highway 2, the other lifeline for Manipur that passes through Nagaland, has been closed since Thursday due to heavy landslides. “We immediately shut the bridge, managed to remove the truck, and are now getting a contractor to urgently repair it. While resources are being moved from Silchar in Assam, the bridge will not be operational before Wednesday,” National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation general manager Sunil Kumar told The Indian Express over phone.
Kumar said the bridge has a load-bearing capacity of 24 tons. He said that overloaded trucks have damaged this and other bridges on the national highway 37 connecting Imphal with Jiribam, the nearest railhead 54 km from Silchar in Assam. He said they have been pleading with the Manipur government to check overloading trucks. “We met the state chief secretary and DGP to apprise them of the situation and for putting a mechanism in place to stop overloading of trucks.’’