State hires engineers to check health of bridges
Kolkata: The state government on Friday inducted 21 engineers for the Bridge Inspection and Special Monitoring Cell, which will examine the health of various bridges across the state.
The decision was taken three days after Ultadanga flyover developed a crack. The main purpose of the monitoring cell would be to examine the condition of the bridges and take necessary steps to initiate repair work if problems are detected in these bridges.
A section of the Ultadanga flyover, which had collapsed six years ago, had developed cracks and the traffic movement on Tuesday was closed immediately after the problem was detected.
According to Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority officials, the cracks in pier cap of the flyover were found during the routine checkup.
The expert committee, which will conduct the health checkup of bridges, will have four superintendent engineers, three executive engineers and 14 assistant engineers.
The chief engineer of the headquarters of the Public Works Department (PWD) will be heading the monitoring cell. All 21 engineers will be deployed soon and they will go to districts and conduct health checkups of various bridges.
There are around 1,749 bridges owned by the Public Works Department out of which 738 are in bad condition. Around 95 bridges are in critical condition. According to sources, among the critical bridges, around 15 are located in Birbhum, 7 in Nadia, 9 each in East Burdwan and Jalpaiguri, 8 in Hooghly and 1 in Purulia.
Expert committee of the Public Works Department and KMDA officials and other agencies held a number of meetings regarding Ultadanga flyover incident. It was decided that the cracks will be repaired by installing steel plates on the damaged portion.
After examining the cracks, the engineers found that it would take around two months to repair the pillar that developed maximum cracks.
The experts also suggested to construct a bailey bridge. The Urban Development department will take up the construction work with Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation.
The traffic movement along the flank connecting Eastern Metropolitan Bypass to the VIP road was thrown open for traffic from Thursday night.
Work to repair the damaged portion of the flyover has been already started. It may be mentioned here that the portion that developed fresh cracks had collapsed on March 3, 2013 when a loaded truck was passing by pier 13 and 14 of the flyover.