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100-year-old British-era bridges in Pune still stand strong and secured

PMC report states that seven bridges built in the city during the British-era are structurally sound.

pune Updated: Nov 07, 2017 15:31 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
bridge,wellesley,british era
Steel brackets of Chhatrapati Sambhaji bridge are in good condition.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

At 187, the British-era Wellesley bridge on Ambedkar road is still strong to carry traffic load, except some minor works recommended by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) consultant that carried out the structural audit of city’s bridges.

Pune has 56 bridges connecting various parts of the city. After the Shiv Sena corporator Pallavi Jawale raised concern about the state of British-built bridges at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) general assembly held recently, the civic administration released a report of its ongoing structural audit project. PMC presented the report of structural audit conducted last year of the seven bridges built during the British era.

“Though the first structural audit was requested in 2013, the actual work began in 2015 and we covered 18 bridges, including the seven built during the British era, in 2016. The tender for audit of remaining bridges is yet to be finalised,” said Sandeep Patil, deputy engineer, special projects (roads) PMC, to HT. The PMC special projects which handles the bridges estimated a budget of Rs.15 crore for the structural audit plan.

Wellesley bridge was completely built of stone in 1830. It is a high-level bridge with two lanes of 9.904 m width. According to structural audit consultants CV Kand’s report, the approach road to this bridge is in good condition and as the bridge is built of stone, no crack or cavitation was found on the structure. The report also states that the main bridge has excellent eight segmental arches but it needs minor repairs for shrinkage cracks in the plaster, and steel exposed at the edges of the arch rings.

Similarly, Deccan’s Chhatrapati Sambhaji built on the Mutha river is 177 years old. The audit report states that the bridge is built in stone masonry arch bridge extended on both sides by steel brackets. It has four-lane divided carriageway with overall width of 28.8m. Steel brackets are provided to widen the bridge for footpaths. The steel brackets are in good condition and stone masonry arches are in excellent condition. The stone used for the arch ring appears to be white Shahabad stone.

After Independence, the bridge was widened on upstream side. It is not known whether the widened arch ring is of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) or stone masonry. There is leakage between the stone masonry of old bridge and its widened part. There is vegetation growth on the arches. In the head wall, there is a hollow circle at every pier. If the flood level increases, some flood discharge can be released by this provision. The report also states minor repairs like removal of vegetation, since during flood, every year, branches of trees are stuck up in the steel structure and have to be cleaned.

The flooring on footpaths is damaged needs repairs. Railings of steel pipes at the side of the footpath needs to be repaired wherever damaged. Repair of footpath and slab by grouting, core strengthening of masonry structure is needed, the report states.

Sangam bridge in Shivajinagar was built in 1857. The bridge was originally constructed for railways. After the construction of a new bridge adjacent to it in 1926, the rail lines were shifted to the new bridge and the old bridge was converted as bridge for road vehicles. On upstream side a water line passes which is embedded in concrete. The bridge is widened by placing steel girders at upstream side. Some girders are supports by inclined steel members.

Harris bridge is 122 years old and needs repairs besides improving the approach portion as it is badly cracked. According to the report, stone masonry of arch ring of the bridge is good. However, it has been repaired by cement mortar grouting. The narrow bridge has been widened on both sides by erecting a steel brackets/frame anchored at deck and on pier cap. It is a triangular frame with wider top having a horizontal angle. The widening was done after Independence.

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 15:29 IST