New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Amid the India-China face-off and the collapse of an important Bailey bridge in Uttarakhand, the Consulting Engineers Association of India (CEAI) has demanded from the government to do a survey of all bridges and culverts on rail and road networks.
The CEAI suggested the government to opt for the ‘Quick Launch Bridges’ that have replaced Bailey Bridges the world over. In a statement, CEAI, which is an apex body of consulting engineers, expressed concern at the collapse of a Bailey bridge near Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Uttarakhand a couple of days ago at a time when these areas face security issues and need reliable infrastructure.
The CEAI also highlighted that in the past several similar incidents happened leading to the loss of lives. “The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the National Highway Authority of India have already appointed consultants to carry out inventory and conditions survey of bridges and culverts for updating the bridge management survey (BMS) on existing highways and roads,” K.K. Kapila, former Chairman, CEAI said in a statement.
Kapila, who is also the Chairman, Infrastructure Committee of CEAI, said that the Ministry of Railways, state governments and municipalities should be proactive when it comes to safety of vehicles and pedestrian bridges. He stressed on the similar inventory and condition process to be carried out for bridges less than 20 feet — smaller bridge structures or pedestrian bridges, as is the practice worldwide.
“This will lay the foundation of a good bridge maintenance programme based on quality inspection data, including complete and accurate information on the bridge structures falling in the purview of the Centre, state or a city agency,” he said, adding that these structures need to be regularly inspected for ‘sufficiency’ rating as per requirement of bridge inventory standards.
“Monitoring this will ensure safety of vehicular and pedestrian bridges and public life”, he said. He also stressed on the need to review use of sub-optimal unsafe equipment bridges especially on National Highways and roads with security implications.
Bridges with sub-optimal specifications reduce the capacity of the road, by lowering the speed of traffic and the loads carried. This is aggravated when single lane bridges like the Bailey Bridge are constructed on double lane roads and their load capacity is as low as 12-18 tons as in the recent incident close to the LAC and with a wider bridge and load capacity of a 100 tons (Class 70 R), the through put is increased 4-6 times and the bridge is much safer.