Narrow bridges

Bridges in both Telugu states are in urgent need of professional care

By Mohammad Shafiq

Hyderabad, Nov 6 (SocialNews.XYZ) The tragedy in the town of Morbi in Gujarat has shed light on the condition of bridges, especially old ones, in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Given fears over the collapse of the Morbi Bridge, decades-old bridges across rivers in the two Telugu states require immediate attention from authorities.

Authorities in both states say surveys are conducted from time to time to ensure regular maintenance of the bridges. Following these readings, the necessary repairs are also carried out.

Experts point out, however, that the recent incident in Gujarat has highlighted the need to further improve the oversight mechanism to rule out complacency.

On October 19, a 20-year-old bridge collapsed in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district of Telangana. Following incessant rains, the bridge over the Peddavagu stream collapsed. The timely action of the district administration averted a tragedy. He had stopped vehicle traffic on the bridge after one of its pillars collapsed.

The Andhavelli Bridge collapse severely affected transport facilities between Kagaznagar city and around 40 villages. Students from several villages are now forced to use field boats to cross the stream to reach Kagaznagar.

Part of the bridge had started to show signs of collapse two years ago, indicating a poor quality of workmanship.

Officials had recently launched a tender for the replacement of two slabs and the construction of a new pillar, drawing criticism from various quarters for having done so without assembling a committee of experts according to established standards.

The bridge was constructed in 2002 by the department of Panchayati Raj with funds from the World Bank. Relevant officials did not pay attention when quality was compromised. The pits were not dug deep enough to build the pillars, which led to their collapse.

More than the five-decade-old bridge over the Godavari River in the temple town of Bhadrachalam in the Bhadradri Kothagudem of Telangana also needs immediate attention.

The bridge, which facilitates entry into the city-temple, is in a state of ruin. The narrow bridge is unable to handle large volumes of traffic and the number of accidents is also on the rise.

It is the only road link from Hyderabad entering Bhadrachalam connecting the neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

In July, authorities closed the bridge to traffic for a few days when the river flowed above the danger mark

It was the second time in the history of this bridge that it was closed due to flooding. It was last closed to traffic in 1986.

The bridge was built in 1964 after a country boat carrying several devotees to the temple town sank, killing many people.

It is the crucial road link on National Highway 30 and also serves as the vital link between Bhadrachalam and a vast tribal area.

The bridge experiences frequent traffic jams. The volume of traffic on it increases dramatically during festivals when thousands of devotees pass through it to visit the temple city.

Users of the bridge say it is in ruins and authorities have failed to carry out repairs to keep it in good condition.

Although the construction of a new parallel bridge started in 2015, the work has not yet been completed. The works, estimated at Rs.65 crore, have been entrusted to a private agency. The work was originally scheduled to be completed in two years.

The new bridge missed many deadlines due to recurring flooding and impeded work due to the river’s rocky terrain. The Covid-19 pandemic also caused the delay.

The Gujarat tragedy also brought to light a suspension bridge and an upcoming cable-stayed bridge in Mulugu and Karimnagar districts respectively.

Thousands of tourists visit Laknavaram in Mulugu district not only to enjoy the scenic beauty but also to have the experience of walking the two suspension bridges that cross the lake.

However, officials have allayed fears about the safety of the 180-meter-long bridges. One bridge was built in 2008 and the other in 2018.

They claim that both bridges are completely safe. They were constructed with BIS standard ropes and cables imported from Korea and steel from Visakhapatnam.

As a large number of visitors use the bridges every day, the agency that maintains them checks the hardware at regular intervals.

A cable-stayed bridge is being constructed over the Manair River in Karimnagar district.

The state government had undertaken construction at a cost of Rs 187 crore in 2018. Tata Projects and Turkey-based company Gulemark are constructing the bridge with 680-meter-long four-lane roads and footpaths for pedestrians.

In 2020, a cable-stayed bridge was opened in Hyderabad. Said to be the longest span concrete deck extradosed cable-stayed bridge in the world, it appeared on a lake in the information technology cluster and particularly attracts visitors in the evening.

Dubbed an engineering marvel, the 233.85 meter long bridge was constructed at a cost of Rs 184 crore.

It was designed and built by construction major L&T under the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode.

In March this year, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) announced that it would audit the condition of the city’s old bridges. He will carry out detailed inspections to check the structural stability and carry out load capacity tests and prepare a report

In Andhra Pradesh, three iconic bridges crossing the Godavari River at Rajahmundry are the center of attraction.

The road-rail bridge was closed last month by authorities for a week to carry out urgent repair work.

The four kilometer long bridge is the only road link between Rajahmundry and Kovvur.

The Roads and Buildings Department carried out the work such as patching potholes and replacing the fallen railing.

Opposition parties, however, called the repair a farce and said the bridge had been closed by the government to prevent Amaravati farmers from using it to enter Rajahmundry as part of their Maha Padyatra against the trifurcation of the state capital.

The leaders of the TDP pointed out that the defects were not identified and without making proposals and sanctioning funds, the authorities announced the closure to resume repairs.

According to Rajahmundry MPP Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary, the bridge has completely deteriorated due to neglect of emergency repairs and maintenance works over the past three and a half years.

During the Covid-19 induced lockdown, the South Central Railway had completed extensive track maintenance work.

Track maintenance work was undertaken 43 years after the bridge was commissioned in 1977.

The rail-road bridge with 34 spans over the Godavari is the third longest rail-road structure in India, after the Digha-Sonpur bridge over the Ganges near Patna and the Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra in Assam.

Built by the Braithwaite, Burn & Jessop Construction Company, the road-rail bridge has streamlined train traffic over the vital Chennai-Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam-Howrah area.

This was previously provided by Sir Havelock Bridge, now a heritage structure. It was built in 1897, and after serving its full usefulness, was decommissioned in 1997.

Another bridge that was added to the chain later, is the third prestressed concrete arch bridge over the Godavari River at Rajahmundry, which is considered an engineering marvel.

It is one of the longest prestressed concrete arch bridges in Asia.

Source: IANS

Bridges in both Telugu states are in urgent need of professional care

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