Faultline in flyover
The Janakpuri flyover that developed a crack in June this year had serious construction flaws, an inquiry by the MCD has revealed, reports Neelam Pandey.delhi Updated: Aug 27, 2008 23:13 IST
The Janakpuri flyover that developed a crack in June this year had serious construction flaws, an inquiry by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has revealed. But having found that, the MCD has decided to take no immediate action against the contractor who built the bridge.
Officials said there is provision like blacklisting the contractor and imposing fine to the tune of 10 per cent of the total cost of the project if construction is found to be faulty. But the MCD rarely exercises these powers. “We are not imposing any penalties on the contractor,” said MCD spokesman Deep Mathur.
The Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation constructed the half-kilometer-long flyover in 2002 at the cost of Rs 7crore. The flyover was supposed to last 75 years with a warranty period of 10 years. It has cracked in six years that forced the MCD to stop movement of traffic.
“We generally ask the contractor to repair the flyover if the structure develops cracks within the warranty period, but we haven’t been fining them,” said Mathur.
The contractor, Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
In the last five years, out of 42 cases when roads have worn off before the warranty period ended, the MCD has asked the contractors to pay for repairs only on 21 occasions. Only four contractors have been blacklisted for bad construction in these five years.
MCD Commissioner KS Mehra said the civic body was aware of these penalties but had not been levying them. “Since bad construction is becoming a serious problem, we may think of imposing strict fines and penalties on contractors in the future,” he said.
What was wrong with the flyover?
A breach of two feet by two feet developed on the Janakpuri flyover on June 23 forcing traffic cops to stop movement of vehicles on it.
The flyover is now under repair.
Initial investigations by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), IIT and the MCD revealed that the flyover was unable to take the load and developed a crack.
“The bridge was unable to take the load of heavy vehicles. It was not strong enough. On the night the flyover caved in, a heavy vehicle had gone over it that ruptured the concrete. Tyre marks were visible on the broken road,” said MCD Commissioner KS Mehra.
Mehra said the expansion joints of the Janakpuri flyover were also not functioning properly. The expansion joints of flyovers are supposed to be cleaned on a regular basis by the MCD field staff to make sure a gap exists between the joints, the report reads.
“Flyovers are subjected to incredible forces of wind, heat and cold. So, they need to expand and contract to prevent them from cracking or buckling,” said KK Kapila, vice-chairman of International Road Federation.
The civic body had to dismantle all the 17 expansion joints of the flyover and recast them again. The MCD has also sent the sample of the construction material for petrography test to ascertain whether inferior quality material was used in construction.