100-Year-Old Bridge in India Struck by Grounded Barge
Over the weekend, a barge ran aground in Rameswaram and crashed into the British-era cantilever railway bridge at Pamban, damaging one of the pillars, reports the Times of India.
Shortly afterward, the vessel was dragged away using fishing boats and was anchored at a safe distance from the bridge. Efforts to shift the tug that was also grounded will begin tomorrow. The barge and the tug will be sent to Karwar.
Unfortunately, the 121st pier of the 100-year-old bridge was damaged. Officials suspended train services on the bridge for a week; repairs would be completed in a month.
The barge and its tug boat faced rough seas and strong winds, and ran aground in sand dunes close to the bridge. The extreme weather continued and the barge started drifting towards the bridge on Friday.
According to the Times of India, Pamban port authorities reportedly downplayed the severity of the incident, hoping to salvage the barge easily. When the barge drifted as close as 20 meters to the bridge, fishermen got into the act and helped port authorities using trawlers. However, on Sunday, the barge rammed the bridge on the 121st pier. The deck of the vessel went about six meters under the bridge.
Salvage operations will resume when the sea is calmer.