Tram lines on the four-decade-old Sealdah bridge or Vidyapati Setu is all likely to be a thing of the past. Heavy vehicles may also be barred from plying on the bridge.
The state-appointed bridge advisory committee has come up with suggestions to do away with the tram tracks over Sealdah bridge along with removing the pavement overlays and the additional layers of bitumen to reduce the extra load from the bridge surface. The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) held a review meeting with the bridge advisory committee on Monday to discuss the issues. The authorities conducted a load-capacity test of the bridge last month.
“The tram lines should be removed from the bridge’s road surface along with the pavement overlay on both sides of the bridge. As far the initial findings of the structural health audit of the bridge, the bridge’s present load-bearing capacity is more or less alright. The removal of the tram lines along with the pavement overlay and additional bitumen layers will help reduce the added pressure,” said a bridge expert.
A source said as per the inspection report, the piers of the bridge should also be strengthened to tackle the present traffic load. “Some of the piers, below which there are hawkers and makeshift stalls, need to be strenghtened,” said an official.
Officials also said that the extra layers of bitumen, which has been laid on the bridge surface, over the years for repairing the road surface, will also have to be ripped off. “A bitumen layer puts in an additional 20kg of load on a per sq feet surface if the bitumen thickness or carpeting is about 40mm to 50mm. Going by this measurement, several kilos of extra weight was put on the bridge over the years,” a structural engineer said.
The authorities also discussed on the Ultadanga flyover repair work. Work to repair the specific cracks on the piers of the Chinrighata bound flank will be taken up in a few days. Sources said that KMDA authorities are trying to see if the closed Chinrighata bound flank of the flyover could be repaired and opened before the pujas.
The Ultadanda flyover was closed on July 9 this year after cracks were detected on its piers and retaining wall.
Source: Times of India