On Wednesday morning, a newly constructed bridge over the Mindhola River in the Tapi district collapsed just before its official opening. Officials said there were no reported casualties. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel ordered a high-level investigation to be completed by Wednesday evening after Tapi District Collector Vipin Garg announced an investigation earlier in the day.
The Chief Minister also issued orders for immediate suspension of the Executive Engineer, the Deputy Executive Engineer, and the Assistant Engineer associated with the project. The bridge was constructed under the Mukhya Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. The estimated construction cost is about Rs 2 crore.
Surat-based Akshay Construction, which was given the contract to build the bridge, has been blacklisted for using substandard concrete, a government statement said. “The bridge was presently non-operational and a portion of the bridge collapsed. We have ordered a probe into the incident and the quality of the material used will be thoroughly checked,” Vipin Garg told The Indian Express.
Garg said a quality control team from Gandhinagar also came to carry out a probe. “At present, it is difficult to say the reason behind the collapse of a portion bridge”, he said.
The length of the bridge is 100 m while the width is 8.40 m with two abutments and three piers, according to people familiar with the matter.
On Wednesday, the slab portion between Pier 2 and 3 broke down and collapsed. The construction work of the approach of the bridge is still in progress.
The bridge was covered under the 2017-18 Mukhya Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (causeway to bridge). Through tender procedures, the work order was given to Akshay Construction at Rs. 1.84 crores on February 5, 2020. Surat-based Green Design and Engineering was involved in designing.
As per the terms and conditions, the work was to be finished in 11 months. The agency, however, requested a deadline extension. May 30 was the deadline later given.
The incident took place on Wednesday at around 6.30 am, as per locals, when the middle portion of the bridge — connecting Maypur village in Valod taluka to Dehgama village in Vyara taluka — collapsed into the Mindhola River.
The bridge that was earlier at the site did not have the required height. During monsoon, it got submerged, said locals. The construction of the new bridge began in 2021.