THE RAILWAYS will ask the Army to aim at making “permanent” foot overbridges for the suburban railway network, as opposed to temporary ones it usually builds during times of crisis. Railway officials said the bridges should be able to handle the heavy passenger load during peak hours, and last for years to come. In a meeting between representatives of the Bombay Group of Engineers and Centre, Pune (Bombay Sappers) and the Railways on Thursday, details about how the bridges will be made were discussed. Senior railway officials said questions on whether the bridges would be of a permanent nature were raised.
The Army expects to complete three bridges by January 31.
“They will be making bailey bridges. Such bridges use pre-fabricated material. Once the foundation is laid, the process of launching the bridges is simpler which can be completed within two days,” a senior railway official said.
The officials added that as these structures are built in a manner much different from the way in which the railways build them, questions were raised. “They are known to be temporary bridges made during times of crisis. In a suburban section like Mumbai where trains pass every two minutes and passenger rush is heavy during peak hours, we wanted to be sure they are sturdy,” an official added. Such bridges require more effort and time for maintenance . “There is a specific material used by the Army in construction of these bridges. As we don’t have the same, we will need to ask them for its stock so that maintenance is not affected,” the official added.
The railways had raised eyebrows over the width of the bridges expected to be as wide as 3.5-3.9 metres. “We also want to check facilities provided, like where its staircases would be, the approaches and other details. The surface must be smooth but not slippery,” the official added.
Officials from the Bombay Sappers have been inspecting the station site. The designs of the bridges, when made by the Army, will be approved by the railways and the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS).
“The final design is expected to reach us only by next week. The CRS will have to approve the same. We will facilitate the Army officials to do their work,” a senior railway official added.
“We are following the guidelines given by the headquarters. The bridges will be efficient to meet the stated requirements the railways had asked,” Brigadier Dhiraj Mohan, Commandant of the Bombay Sappers, said.