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Maharashtra government directs implementation of measures for old arch bridges

The Maharashtra government has also ordered installation of proper lights on bridge with blinkers on sides, cat eye on passage to ensure there is no repeat of the accident like the one on the Savitri river on the Mumbai-Goa highway.

Maharashtra government directs implementation of measures for old arch bridges The government has ordered installation of proper lights on bridges. (Express photo)

Based on the recommendations made by the commission appointed to inquire into bridge collapse in Mahad, the Maharashtra government has directed the respective authorities to remove trees on the structure to strengthen the old arch bridges on roads, undertake frequent repairs and audit every three years.

It has also ordered installation of proper lights on bridge with blinkers on sides, cat eye on passage to ensure there is no repeat of the accident like the one on the Savitri river on the Mumbai-Goa highway.

On the night of August 2, 2016, two buses and around 10 private vehicles fell in the Savitri river after a British-era bridge got washed away near Mahad on the Mumbai-Goa highway, killing nearly 30 people. A one-member commission of a retired High Court judge was constituted to undertake the inquiry into the incident and it suggested measures to avoid such accidents in future.

In a government resolution, the state government said there are old arch bridges on several roads in the state that are in the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department, rural development department, municipal corporation and councils. Few are made of stones and few of concrete. “The measures suggested by the commission should be followed to avoid repeat of accident due to collapse of bridges,” it said.

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Additional city engineer of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Srinivas Bonala said there are eight British-Era bridges on the Mula-Mutha river passing through the city. “The civic body has already started taking care of the old bridges. There are total of 52 bridges, including flyovers and railway over bridges, in the city. The PMC has completed the repair of old arch bridges and has appointed an agency to carry out structural audit of all bridges that are at least 25 years old.”

The government order also says that the maximum water level during a flood situation should be painted on the pillar of the bridge every year and if the level has increased, then it should be registered with the local civic body. Trees or plants on any part of the bridge’s structure should be uprooted and chemicals should be used to ensure that the trees do not grown again, if they pose a threat to the structure.

Visibility on the old bridges should be increased during night time by installing proper lighting system. There should be blinkers on both sides of the bridge and cat eyes or road studs on both sides and the median, it says. Further the GR has suggested that there should be retro-reflective display boards put up permanently in a place before the start of the bridge with detailed information, like single lane or narrow bridge, speed limit and submersible bridge, which the authorities should ensure are in good condition before the onset of every monsoon.

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The speed limit of vehicles on old and narrow bridges should be ensured by putting rumbler strips before the start of bridge with a display board indicating it. The authorities should take appropriate decision to close the bridge for vehicles by continuously reviewing the flood situation during monsoon, it said.

According to the GR, there should be special technical audit of the bridge after every three to five years, as per the guidelines of the Indian Road Congress. The guidelines of Indian Railways Bridge manual should be followed to ensure proper condition of the railway bridges. The bridges should be repaired if there are some problems observed in the structure and it should ensure that there is sufficient cushioning on the arch bridges to avoid damage to the arch.

The foundation of pillars should be covered with concrete if there is damage. The pillar should be repaired as and when required while the information of the engineer responsible for the repair and its date should be registered. There should be proper care taken while constructing parallel bridge, along an existing bridge so that it does not get affected, the GR said.

First published on: 26-06-2018 at 10:00:23 am
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