A day after Public Works Department Minister Satyendar Jain had said he was unaware of a gap in the expansion joints of the Lajpat Nagar flyover but would examine it, the PWD on Wednesday said that the gaps would temporarily be bridged using steel plates.
The gap — nearly nine inches wide — gives a clear view of the traffic running under the flyover, raising concerns over the safety of motorists plying on the flyover. Vehicles of all sizes, however, continue to run unfazed on the flyover as they experience a pothole-like bump over the gap in the flyover joints.
PWD engineer-in-chief Sarvagya Srivastava said, “The gap is caused by contraction during winter. It will be bridged using steel plates. The flyover is old and its joints will need to be replaced with modular joints so that such contraction does not occur in the future. The flyover is structurally sound.”
PWD secretary Ashwani Kumar said that such gaps were earlier observed on the Moolchand flyover as well. That too was bridged by welding steel plates. “The work of welding steel plates to bridge the gap on Lajpat Nagar flyover will be undertaken immediately and will be completed in ten days,” said Kumar.
PWD officials said that the condition — contraction of flyover joints in winter — has been observed on the Lajpat Nagar flyover since its construction. However, this time the gap had widened more than it had before. “All these gaps are due for replacement with modular joints to reduce such gaps in the future during contraction in winter,” said a senior PWD official.
The tenders for the process of changing joints are expected to the be issued next week, according to PWD officials. The process of replacing the joints, officials said, will take longer as they will require permissions from various authorities and the flyover may have to be closed to public while the joints are replaced. The replacement of the expansion joints may take over a month, officials estimated.
As concrete expands at higher temperatures and contracts as mercury dips, modular joints in the bridge, officials said, will safely absorb temperature-induced expansion and contraction of construction material.
DCP (south), Traffic, D K Gupta, said, “If and when we receive intimation for repair work on the Lajpat Nagar flyover we will deploy adequate staff to manage traffic diversions and ensure commuters are least inconvenienced like we did when the Savitri flyover was closed in a phased manner for around 12 days last month.”