Central Rly calls for third party structural audit of 5 bridges in city

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Sep 2018 10:05:43

(1)A view of the Ghat Road (Dhantoli) (2)The Ajni Railway-Over-Bridge that is due for replacement.


By Sagar Mohod,

Central Railway’s Nagpur Division has called for third party structural audit of five bridges in city so as to have realistic estimate of health status of these structures. All bridges dates back to British era and more or less are 80 to 90 years old and estimated to have completed their time period. Among the five, two are railway over bridges (RoB), Ajni and Jaripatka (Itarsi), and three railway under bridges (RuB) namely Mominpura, Loha Pul and Ghat Road (Dhantoli).

So far the practice was Bridge Cell in Railways is tasked with looking after the maintenance and repairs of the bridges. The Cell was also the final authority on certifying fitness of the bridges. However in light of recent incidents in country where bridges came down over railway lines, Railway Board directed all the Zones to go for third party structural audit. Given that most of assets over Indian Railways were built during the British rule, time has come to asses each of the bridge's actual condition from technical point of view and hence the audit, said the divisional spokesman while explaining the rationale.

While at local level the inspection of brides do takes place on regular basis yet they do not take into account structural aspects and hence we are going in for third party audit, said a senior officer while explaining the difference. The audit involves minute examination of each and every minute aspect of the bridges, their ability to bear the strength, recording of wear and tear suffered over the years and damages suffered if any.

While calling out experts to asses the bridges, Railways have listed specifics and wants clear cut fitness of these structures. It has asked for geometrical survey, preparation of As-built drawing, profile mapping, visual inspection, identification of distress elements, conduction of NDT and semi-destructive tests like ultrasonic pulse velocity, rebound hammer, half cell potentiometer, concrete core extraction for testing. The inclusion of concrete core extraction entails cutting parts of the concrete that would be tested in laboratory to verify the stretch and analyse erosion and wear and tear aspects, said the railway officials.

In audit, the Railways have stressed for rating of the bridges which determines the decision to go in for repairs or replacement as it indicates the condition. Also they want cost of remedial measures if repairs/ strengthening/ dismantling is to be done, and also detailed estimates and structural audit report.

Condition of Jaripatka, Ajni RoBs serious

Of the five, conditions of Itarsi and Ajni Bridge is quite serious and they are due for replacement. One reason for calling structural audit is that this way State and local authorities will be presented with factual data and might force their hand in going in with Railways for replacement of these two bridges in priority, said the sources. A common perception among masses is that structure over tracks is the property of Railways, but that is not so as local authority are its owners. Railways have time and again communicated to NMC and Public Works Department, the need to provide replacement to two aging bridges as its structural base have weakened. With third party audit, now State bodies will see the reason and join hands with Railways and replace bridges before its too late. With third party audit Railways in a way want to absolve itself of future liabilities if any on account of collapse of any of these bridges. In recent past local bodies have shifted blame on Railways although latter had limited role in its maintenance. The case with NMC is that its precarious financial position has hampered replacement of bridges which are overdue since long.