Mumbai (The Hindu): From Tuesday, the Amar Mahal junction flyover on the Eastern Express Highway and the road below it are going to be out of bounds to motorists, following a damage to its bearings due to an adverse curvature on Friday evening.
Five joints at three locations of the 60-metre-long, three-lane flyover’s underside opened out, crippling the traffic and forcing the Public Works Department (PWD) to seek help of experts from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B).
“The 60- metre-long section has a dead weight of 500 tonnes of the structure. With three-four distresses suffered already, any hurried move could be catastrophic. We have shared documents, including designs and drawings, of the bridge with the IIT team, which is conducting an analysis (simulations to assess load levels) on the load-carrying capacity of the bridge for the joints to open up,” Satish Shravage, secretary in the Public Works Department (PWD), told The Hindu.
Mr. Shravage along with Ravi Sinha from IIT, visited the site on Sunday. It was decided that once the bridge is barricaded by Tuesday, the process of studying the model through structural analysis will begin and a software will aid in analysing the faults that need to be corrected.
“We have advised the PWD against going in for a band-aid type of treatment to assess and rectify the bridge damage. We have to assess whether any other fault lines would similarly open up,” said Mr. Sinha.
Another recommendation has been made for conducting simulations to understand how the bridge reached such a critical stage due to vehicular loads it has been subjected to over the years.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sudhir Ranshevare said, “Our priority is to ensure the seamless movement of vehicles. We have to emphasise the alternative routes to relieve the stress on this segment of the eastern corridor. Commuters had to spend up to two hours in their cars and buses due to the heavy traffic on Monday. Our officers have been manning the passage around the bridge till 2 a.m. over the past few days.”
The critical location of the Amar Mahal junction has also complicated the process, as it is the inter-connecting road for vehicles coming into the city from Thane and Navi Mumbai.
The traffic police have recommended use of the Wadala freeway near Chheda Nagar, Kurla Dairy-Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, Suman Nagar junction to Chembur junction via Mankhurd towards Chheda Nagar, and Chembur junction via Govandi towards Chheda Nagar. Another alternative is the Sion-Dharavi route to reach LBS Marg in Ghatkopar and head on through Andheri Link Road.
Meanwhile, Quadricon Pvt. Limited, the firm whose patented technology was used for the bridge in early 1990s, has closed commercial operations. Mr. Sinha said, “The technology was a patented product and used for the bridge construction. The company was formed in 1960s and was active for 40 years, after which it ceased operations. There is not data on the technology available. Neither is the maintenance manual available to provide information about regular inspections, if any, as prescribed in the manual, were actually conducted or not.”
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