A bridge on Gangotri highway in Uttarakhand collapsed on Sunday morning. The bridge was built on Assi Ganga river. The incident triggered panic as people traveling to Badrinath were stopped from advancing further. Due to the sudden collapse, traffic movement stopped immediately and angry pilgrims and tourists were seen standing on both sides of the bridge. The bridge that collapsed around 10:30 am connects Gangotri, Maneri, Harsil and 42 other villages on the hills.
According to reports, reason for the bridge collapse was attributed to passing of an overloaded truck. The truck while passing over the bridge caused the upper chord of the bridge to snap, resulting the entire bridge to collapse in the river. The truck also went down with bridge in the river. No loss of lives has been reported. The district administration and rescue teams have rushed to the spot and operation is underway.
This is not the first time when the bridge has collapsed. The bridge had collapsed on December 14 last year after being constructed by Border Road Organisation (BRO). It is the second time in three months that the bridge has slumped due to overloading, even though heavy trucks are prohibited to shuttle on the Assi Ganga bridge. After the first collapse, a magisterial enquiry was also ordered but no reports are available. It was during the Uttarakhand floods of 2013 that the bridge first collapsed and was later built by the Army.
The Assi Ganga bridge also connects Chinese border with Uttarkashi, it was located only 5-6 kms ahead of Uttarkashi on the way to Gangotri. The bridge links posts of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and small villages like Nelang, Naga, Sonam, Jadung near the Chinese border. The Army personnel may face ration problems if the bridge is not constructed rapidly.