After repairing the Mangi bridge on Ring Road — a little over three years after it was torn apart by speeding trucks— the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is now worried about the height clearance following the lowering of a carriageway.
The ASI has claimed the Public Works Department (PWD) has wrongly increased the width of the lowered road on the central carriageway right below the Mangi bridge. It will effectively mean lower height clearance for vehicles threatening a repeat of the original damage.
After lowering the road, its width at the start (Rajghat side) is 8.5 metres, while at the centre it spreads out to 10.5 metres. A minimum height clearance of 5.4 metres is required so that the vehicles do not hit the arches on either side.
Work was taken up for the central carriageway while the two others on each side are being used for traffic.
Arches on the lower side of the Mangi bridge, located between the Red Fort and Salimgarh, were damaged in 2009, following constant scratching by the tops of goods carriers and other vehicles plying on the Ring Road below. This was happening as the height of Ring Road had been increasing every year due to layers of tar during repair. So the lowering of the road was necessitated simultaneously when the bridge was being repaired.
“We have requested the PWD to reduce the width in view of the safety of the bridge. Right now, our trials are going on to check the strength of the repaired portion by way of instrumentation test,” said an ASI official.
Ravi Mathur, PWD spokesperson, said: “We will add more curb stones to bring down the road width (to 8.5 metres). We are waiting for the ASI to finish their work and remove the scaffolding.”
The arches on the other carriageway (on the Salimgarh side) too have suffered extensive damage during these years. “It needs immediate attention. The carriageway needs to be closed down for traffic, but it can be done only when the central carriageway is opened,” said Anirudh Singha of AIC Building Solutions, who is carrying out the repair work for the bridge.