Work is far from over at the Thane Kopri bridge over the railway lines,even though six years have elapsed since the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) undertook the work. The work was supposed to be completed in a years time,but in six years,less than 50 per cent of the work is completed.
Only three of the eight concrete girders have been lowered on the superstructure,while the fourth girder is in the process of being readied. Readying the girders and moving them into position constitutes a major part of bridge construction. Going by the pace of work it seems that the bridge would not be completed and open to the traffic before 2015,which is six years from now.
The new bridge was to cater to the burgeoning traffic of Thane that had to crawl through the bottleneck at the old bridge intersecting the east and west sides of Thane.
The Indian Express kept night vigil on two occasions to monitor the progress of work at the site construction.
March 25,2009. 1 am
An hour past midnight,the construction site at the Thane Kopri bridge comes to life. Actual work will commence at 1:40 am when the scant train traffic passing below would be blocked for an hour and 10 minutes. Work is commencing after a recess of 22 days as the central railway authorities had failed to sanction the blocks. Tonights task would be stressing of the girders.
Three sets of steel cables intersecting five segments of girders would be synchronically pulled from either sides by high pressure hydraulic jacks to unify them into one continuous girder spanning a length of 43.5 metres. This is the fourth girder and Deepak Mangal of the contractor firm Ajaypal Mangal and Co. is hopeful of stressing all three sets of cables in one block. Work commences sharp at 1:40 am under the supervision of engineers from Central Railway and the project consultants,RITES,and by 2:30 am,the desired results are obtained. A lot of time is consumed by the supervising engineers in calculating the averages of the readings. However,much to the disappointment of Mangal and the workers,the engineers call it a day,stressing that the remaining two sets of cable cannot be stressed in the remaining time as both of them have to be taken consecutively,one after the other.
March 27,2009. 1:40 am
Work commences on time and surprisingly the second set of cables is stressed in 15 minutes. Time is consumed in undoing the jack and fitting into the third set of cables. Even as the third cable is stressed,a snap is heard,which later during inspection turns out to be the breaking of one of the 19 cables. Further inspection reveals strands of one more cable at the other side have also broken. Breaking of cables during stressing is anticipated and to compensate for the breakage a dummy cable slot is provided.
Engineers suggest that compensation for cable breakage has to be based on the findings of an expert such as the project designer and only after that work at the site would commence. Even as the engineers are trying to ascertain the cause of the cable breakage,Mangal is distraught at the mention of expert opinion.
He recalled that on an earlier occasion,a minor crack in the girder was referred to the expert opinion of IIT,and work was delayed by more than a year.
As of now,expert opinion is being sought in the matter.