Kolkata Bridge

Major bridge collapse in Kolkata

A collapsed highway overpass in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India at the end of March claimed at least 24 lives and injured many more. The collapse of about 100 metres of the under-construction Vivekananda Overpass buried cars and pedestrians in a crowded neighbourhood north of the city's center.

At first, people desperately dug into the rubble with shovels and even their bare hands. Later, an army of hard-hatted rescue crews arrived. Bright lights illuminated the scene as heavy machinery lifted heavy slabs of concrete that trapped scores of people.

An executive for the construction company building the 2-kilometre overpass, IVRCL, said the collapse was not the company's fault. "It's nothing but a God's act. So far in 27 years, we have constructed several number of bridges ... it never happened," K Panduranga Rao of the Hyderabad-based company told reporters.

The Vivekananda Overpass project was a composite steel structure, full of utilities, and was being built in a congested area that hampered movement of heavy equipment. The project had been plagued by delays and was supposed to have been finished five years ago.

It isn't the first time there has been a deadly road construction accident in India in recent years.

  • In Bhagalpur in 2006, an overbridge fell on an express train, killing 37 passengers.
  • In 2009, scaffolding on a bridge under construction collapsed in Kota, killing 30 workers.
  • In 2013, a fully constructed overpass collapsed in eastern Kolkata. A truck fell into a canal, but the people inside were rescued.
  • In 2014, three labourers were killed when a portion of an overpass under construction collapsed in the Parle Point area of Surat.
  • In South Africa the notorious Injaka Bridge collapsed in 1998 killing 14 and injured 19 more. More recently the Grayston pedestrian bridge collapsed killing 2 in 2015. Both bridges were under construction when they collapsed. The Grayston bridge collapse is presently being investigated by the Dept. of Labour and ProjectPro eNews readers will be kept informed of progress.
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