HC suggests restrictions on vehicles plying over Umiam bridge, wants replacement
Shillong, May 4: The High Court of Meghalaya has asked the state to ban vehicles carrying loads of more than 10 metric tons from plying over Umiam bridge following suggestion that the existing bridge may not be able to bear the present traffic load.
The court observed that both the National Highways Authority of India and the Border Roads Organisation agree that the Umiam bridge should be replaced by a more robust construction that will be able to bear the regular traffic.
The BRO has also indicated in its affidavit that vehicles bearing a total weight in excess of 10 MT should not be allowed on the bridge.
Hearing a PIL on the matter, the two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh said there is no doubt that implicit in such a suggestion is that the existing bridge may not be able to bear the present traffic load.
“This is a situation which cries out for a stitch in time so that Shillong is not cut off for the want of a bridge over a reservoir,” it asserted.
The court directed the state to make every endeavour to ensure that a replacement is planned and the work commenced without waiting for the existing bridge to collapse.
“The state must also immediately regulate the flow of traffic along the bridge to ensure that not only the vehicles weighing more than 10 MT are not allowed on the bridge, but also to see that two heavy vehicles do not use the bridge at the same time to cause any further damage thereto,” it said.
“Measures should be taken so that the traffic is regulated at either end and the flow is not disrupted, yet not too many vehicles use the bridge at the same time, particularly keeping in mind the total weight spread over the bridge,” it added.
The court further asserted that the state may approach the Union for release of appropriate funds since the matter pertains to the shortest access to the state capital.
The next hearing on the matter will be held on June 1.