Concrete slabs at Dwarka Expressway worksite collapse, three workers injured
Officials of the highways authority said that the workers suffered minor injuries and were treated at a nearby hospital, but refrained from commenting on the reason for the collapse.
Two large concrete slabs, of around 40 metres each in length, between pillar numbers 107 and 109 on an elevated section of the under-construction Dwarka Expressway collapsed around 7.30am on Sunday, near Daulatabad Chowk, injuring three workers.
Officials of the highways authority said that the workers suffered minor injuries and were treated at a nearby hospital, but refrained from commenting on the reason for the collapse. Officials of contractors Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and AECOM were suspended until a probe.
Senior officials of L&T, who were at the spot, said that they were in the process of removing a concrete slab between pillar numbers 107 and 108 that developed cracks during the stressing of cables when the incident took place. “The stressing cables were removed a day earlier and the workers had started the process to remove this segment, which collapsed. At this time, we don’t know whether mechanical failure happened or there was any other reason for the collapse,” said a senior L&T official, requesting anonymity.
Teams from the Gurugram police, State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), civil defence and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) reached the spot immediately after the incident to take stock of the situation. NHAI officials said that a technical committee will look into the details of the incident.
Taking serious cognizance of the accident, the NHAI said in a statement, “Authority has viewed the incident seriously and pending the outcome of the investigation by the committee, the concerned key personnel of the contractor M/s L&T and supervision consultant M/s AECOM have been suspended as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of NHAI.”
A team of civil defence personnel, who were also on the spot said that the injured workers were rescued and taken to a private hospital nearby. “A live search was conducted and we ensured that locals stayed away from the site as there was a possibility of slabs getting displaced,” said Mohit Sharma, a civil defence official.
Residents of villages and high-rises in the vicinity said that the loud noise from the collapse shook them in the morning hours and they rushed out to help the workers. “We were apprehensive that many workers could be trapped but luckily it was a Sunday and with Holi on Monday, not many were working,” said Rajesh Kumar, who lives in a village in the vicinity of the site.
This is the second major incident of slab collapse in the city within a year. A slab on the Sohna Road elevated project collapsed while being launched on August 22 last year, leading to the contractor being penalised.
The 29-kilometre Dwarka Expressway is being constructed in four phases, of which the first two phases are in Delhi. The incident took place on a section under the third phase, said officials.
On March 5, union transport minister Nitin Gadkari inspected the highway project and issued directions that this project should be completed by August 15, 2022. The two phases of the expressway in Gurugram are expected to be completed by the end of this year. However, the slab collapse is expected to delay the project.
The ₹10,000-crore project will connect Kherki Daula and Mahipalpur in New Delhi on NH-48 and also provide access to the IGI Airport. This road is among the first ones in the country to have eight lanes on a single-pier flyover.
Officials familiar with the matter said that in the incident, two concrete slabs between pillar numbers 107 and 109 were completely damaged along with the launcher used to load the segments on to the piers. The top of pier number 108 was also damaged in the collapse. The collapse took place between an erection span and the adjoining span between pillars 107 and 109, said officials
A senior technical personnel of L&T indicated that a possible reason for the collapse could be that the launcher was not properly secured above pillar number 109.
Nirman Jambulkar, project director of NHAI, who was also at the spot, said, “There was no loss of life In the accident and three workers suffered minor injuries. A technical team of NHAI will look into the matter.”
Dinesh Sharma, in charge, SDRF, said, “Our men cordoned off the site and checked for any injured persons stuck under the slabs.”