July 9, 2017
Kottayam: A World Bank aided newly built bridge constructed on the Main Central road at a cost of Rs 9 crore is heading to die an unnatural death before it is commissioned.
Poor quality of the construction is believed to have rendered the bridge unsafe.
The 60-metre long and 10.5 metre wide bridge work was completed last year December. The project is being implemented under the supervision of Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP). Three years were required to construct the bridge.
At first a crack was noticed before the bridge opened for movement of vehicular traffic. Following this inauguration of the bridge was suspended.
After conducting preliminary investigations, the KSTP and the contractors tried to convince that the crack was a normal phenomena that occurred during peak summer. They stationed 152 tonne Taurus trucks on the bridge for 24 hours and fixed strain gauge meters at 20 spots. They claimed the bridge was safe and stated that it would be opened for public, when the world bank authorities, unimpressed by the studies conducted by the Kerala government departments, jumped into the scene to conduct their own tests.
They conducted a series of tests which included stationing of four Taurus trucks loaded with 38.2 materials for 24 hours. As per text book conditions, the beam of bridge should bend a maximum of four millimeter. On the contrary the beams of the existing new bridge showed an abnormal bend of 6 millimetre which indicated that the bridge is not safe.
There are reports that the contractor and the KSTP are sweating it out to get the bridge declared safe.
Meanwhile, former State Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, MLA, of the Congress representing Kottayam constituency has sought comprehensive investigation into the construction.
The bridge is constructed on the Main Central road as part of the 88 kms Chengannur-Ettumanur-Muvattupuzha development. This is split into three phases with the bridge coming under the 41 km Chengannur-Ettumanur sector.