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Monsoon alert: Maharashtra govt issues new norms for repair of old, British-era bridges

A government resolution outlining the measures has been issued by the state government, to prevent a repeat of the 2016 Mahad bridge collapse.

mumbai Updated: Jun 22, 2018 13:41 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,monsoon,British-era bridges
In August 2016, the bridge over Savitri river on Mumbai-Goa highway collapsed after incessant rain. Two buses and two private vehicles were swept away, killing 41 people.(PTI)

To prevent a repeat of the 2016 Mahad bridge collapse that killed 41, the public works department (PWD) has issued a guideline to maintain old arc and stone masonry bridges across various rivers in the state.

On August 3, 2016, the bridge over Savitri River on the Mumbai-Goa highway collapsed after incessant rain. Two buses and two private vehicles swept away, killing 41.

A commission appointed to inquire the collapse of the British-era bridge in 2016, suggested various measures including pre-monsoon inspection of such bridges, use of Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) on damaged pillars and closing down of bridges in case of heavy rain or flooding over the bridge.

A government resolution (GR), outlining the measures was issued by the state government.

According to the GR, a detailed survey of such bridges should be carried out every three to five years as per the guidelines of the Indian Road Congress (IRC).

The GR said, “If the pillars of the stone bridge are found to be damaged, reinforcement should be carried out. If there is arc bridge or the base of the pillar of the bridge has developed a cavity, the process of ‘cement mortar grounding’ should be done to reinforce it.”

The PWD will also follow guidelines of the Indian Railway Bridges Manual to repair arc masonry bridges, the GR said. The PWD will carry out a “chemical treatment” on bridges and its pillars to ensure that there is no plant growth on it, as it could “damage the bridge”.

As per the recommendations adopted by the PWD, it would now hold the executive engineer responsible in case a mishap occurs after repair work.

The commission has recommended that the local administration should mark the maximum flood level on bridges across the state. The local administration has been also directed to inform if the water crosses the flood level.

The commission recommended installation of solar-powered lights for better visibility at night, coming up with rumble strips to curb speed on the bridge and install signage to alert motorists if it is a single-lane or a narrow bridge. In case of heavy rain or flooding, local administration, police or the PWD can close the bridge for that period, the GR said.

First Published: Jun 22, 2018 13:40 IST