‘Roads, bridges in bad shape’

SHILLONG, Nov 20: The state government has finally admitted that roads and bridges in the Meghalaya were in a state of disrepair and needed to be upgraded while also acknowledging that thorough checking on overloaded vehicles plying through the highways should be undertaken.
“It is not always overloading of trucks. Over the years the carrying capacity of trucks has also increased and there is a notification of the government to increase the carrying capacity by five percent,” Transport Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar said today. Dhar reasoned that from the earlier days of six-wheeler trucks there are now hundreds of ten-wheelers and eighteen-wheelers plying on the highways daily. “Though the vehicles have changed in size and carrying capacity the bridges remain the same and it is but natural that sooner or later the heavy vehicles would take a toll on the bridges,” he said.
The minister, however, agreed that there are instances of overloading which cannot be overlooked.
He said that since 2018, weigh bridges have been put in place to check overloading.
He informed that he had already discussed the issue with Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma and that the PWD department was already on the job.
He suggested that thrust should be on quality which constructing the highways so that it does not get affected in later years.
The Transport minister’s statement comes just days after concerns were raised by various legislators in the recently-concluded Autumn session of the Assembly on the state of roads and bridges due to overloading of trucks.
It may be mentioned that Opposition Congress MLA from Umroi Constituency, George B Lyngdoh had pointed out that the Umiam bridge was being subjected to a lot of pressure and cautioned that even a hairline crack on the bridge will lead to catastrophic consequences.
Stating that his constituency had suffered the most with the Shillong Bypass deteriorating fast due to the plying of overloaded trucks, Lyngdoh said that the deterioration is so fast that the maintenance work is unable to cope with it.
He had also said that cracks have developed on the Dwar Ksuid bridge and the entire four-lane road from Umiam to Jorabat had deteriorated.
Senior Congress leader, Charles Pyngrope had also requested the state government to look into the matter.

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