New Delhi: A bridge on the Mumbai-Goa Highway near Mahad collapsed on Tuesday night, bringing traffic to a complete halt.
The local deputy superintendent, Pranjali Sonawane confirmed that the collapse is estimated at an extent 80%.
There were 2 parallel bridges — one a new bridge and one constructed during the British era. The old one is the one that collapsed.
At least two buses and several other vehicles went missing near Mahad city after the bridge on the Savitri River collapsed due to torrential rains in the Konkan region.
The bridge is said to be more than seven decades old and a critical link to the Mumbai-Goa national highway. It crashed around 1am due to the flood waters rushing into the river.
Raigad Collector, Sheetal Ugale says after the collapse two state transport buses with 11 passengers each were missing and there was no contact with either their drivers or the passengers.
Since the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses — which started from Mumbai — did not arrive at their scheduled Mahad depot, Ugale appealed people to get in touch with the concerned authorities regarding their missing relatives.
Locals said that around five to six private vehicles were also missing and they were feared to have been washed away by the flood waters.
“The bridge was built during the British era. After discussion with the National Highways Authority, we have shifted traffic to the new parallel bridge nearby. We are trying to confirm reports of other missing vehicles,” Ugale said.
Rehabilitation Minister Chandrakant Patil said helicopters would be deployed and the help of defence forces was being taken to search the missing vehicles.
Meanwhile, National Disaster Response Force team reached Raigad from Pune to assist in the rescue operations.
Incessant rains continue to lash the coastal Konkan, northern and western Maharashtra since past five days.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, spoke to Collector Sheetal Ugale and SP Suvez Haque who immediately rushed to the spot to enable rescue and take immediate measures.
The CM also expressed his grief and concerns on Twitter in a series of tweets: