Century-old bridge on verge of collapse


Published: 02/01/2019

by www.belgaumonline.com


The Kusamali bridge across the Malaprabha river in Khanapur taluk, 18km from here, is in a very bad shape and it is on the verge of collapse.
Although, deputy commissioner S B Bommanhalli has passed an order strictly banning heavy vehicles on the bridge, his order is not being implemented by the authorities concerned.

The century-old bridge built in the British era using limestone and stones, is in a dilapidated condition. Eight months ago, the government of England has written to the local administration alerting that lifespan of the bridge is finished and it needs to be rebuilt.

The stones of the bridge’s wall are falling as the limestone is losing its grip. The compound wall has also fallen posing a danger to both motorists and predestrians. Considering the situation, the public works department (PWD) placed a board on the bridge banning movement of heavy vehicles around eight months ago. However, as there is no publicity, heavy vehicles continue to ply on it.

The poor condition of the bridge poses a bigger challenge to the authorities as the national highway authority of India (NHAI) is going to ban vehicular movement on the Belagavi-Goa highway via Anmod and Ramnagar for road widening work from January 10. This will result in extra load on the Chorla route on which the bridge is located.

As the route via Chorla Ghat section is a narrow one, most vehicle users prefer to travel via Anmod and Ramnagar route. However, once road widening works begin, they will have no other option but to go via Chorla.

PWD executive engineer Sanjeev Hulakayi said a proposal for the reconstruction of a bridge is ready and it is on the planning stage. Work may begin by next year through Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), he said.


The official said police and RTO should take immediate measures to ban movement of heavy vehicles including loaded trucks on the bridge. Heavy vehicles can take the route via Bachi and Amboli to reach Goa from Belagavi, he said. 


According to Gavadu Patil of Jamboti village near Kusamali Bridge, the government should take up reconstruction of the bridge on a priority. “If it falls, people of several villages including Jamboti and Kanakumbi will loss direct connectivity to Belagavi,” he said. 


‘Only allow light vehicles’


DC Bommanhalli said he has banned movement of heavy vehicles on the bridge a fortnight ago and will instruct authorities concerned including police department to only allow light vehicles on the bridge as a part of the precautionary measures.