An old bridge constructed in the early 90s in Maharashtra’s Pune city was demolished through a controlled blast in the early hours of Sunday as part of a development project to solve the problem of frequent traffic jam in the area, officials said.
Around 600 kg of explosives were used for the demolition of the bridge on Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway (NH4) in Chandani Chowk area at 1 am, they said.
The planned demolition of the bridge generated a great deal of curiosity among locals. People living in nearby areas gathered at a safe distance from the spot to watch the demolition exercise.
After the demolition, a number of earthmover machines and trucks were pressed into action to bring down the hanging structures and remove the debris.
The vehicular movement was stopped in the area and diverted in view of the demolition exercise. To restrict mass gatherings around the bridge, police imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the area, officials said.
After the removal of the debris, the highway was opened for traffic movement at 10 am, Pune Collector Rajesh Deshmukh said.
The razing of the bridge was part of an ambitious Chandani Chowk development project which is aimed at improving the traffic situation at the key junction. A multi-level flyover will come up at the junction and its work is underway.
“The bridge was demolished at 1 am on Sunday through a controlled blast and everything was executed as per the plan. We pressed earthmover machines, forknails and trucks to clear the debris from the spot,” said Chirag Chheda, co-owner of Edifice Engineering, whose team along with the NHAI authorities carried out the bridge demolition.
It is the same company which demolished Noida’s Supertech Twin Towers in August this year, officials said. Asked that a portion of the bridge structure had not collapsed completely, one of the lead engineers at Edifice said the concrete was removed due to the blast and only steel bars were left there.
“Once the steel bars are removed using the machines, the remaining structure will also come down,” he said.
He said the quantity of steel used in the bridge construction was higher than they had expected. On Friday, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari conducted an aerial inspection of the ongoing bridge work at Chandani Chowk.
According to the district administration, sufficient manpower and machinery were pressed into action to demolish the bridge and clear the debris for the resumption of vehicular traffic on the route.