In a startling revelation, the government said today that more than 100 bridges in the country are well over their standard life and can collapse anytime. The information was provided by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in the Lok Sabha today. Gadkari said that a safety audit was conducted for around 1.6 lakh bridges in the country and during the audit, it was found that a total of 147 bridges and tunnels were in a pretty bad shape and could collapse anytime. Gadkari said that 2 of the bridges are more than 100 years old. Gadkari said that the government is working on a plan to fix the bridges and tunnels that are in a distress condition. He said that structures that are the weakest would be the first to be repaired.
It may be recalled that a major bridge on the Savitri River in the Konkan region of Maharashtra was swept away last year, which resulted in the deaths of around 2 dozen people. It was a bridge made by the British and when it collapsed, two buses and several private cars were swept away into the river. It was after this tragedy that the government had decided to carry out a security audit of all bridges in the country. Till now, 1.62 lakh bridges and culverts have been identified and each of them has been given a unique number. The total cost of the audit so far has been Rs 69 crore.