The newly-built Majerhat bridge, which has replaced the one that collapsed in September 2018, has cleared a “load test” and design consultants have certified that the structure is “ready to use”.
Once the railway’s nod comes, the PWD, which is executing the project, will approach the state government to fix a date for the bridge’s inauguration. Since the 260m-long deck slab of the bridge stands over train tracks, the structure cannot be opened for traffic without the railway’s clearance.
Senior PWD officials said they were planning to send the “final report” on the bridge to Nabanna early next month, after which the government will schedule the inauguration.
The load test began on November 16, and over the next four days the structure was subjected to 534 tonnes of weight. The deck slab of the bridge is held by 84 cables, imported from Switzerland. “Only 40 per cent of the load-bearing capacity of each of the cables will be utilised,” an engineer involved in the construction of the bridge said.
Two days into the load test, a team of engineers from the railway, led by Anant M. Chowdhary, the commissioner of railway safety (eastern circle), visited the bridge to inspect the procedure.
The engineers who ran the test measured how different components of the bridge – such as the deck slab, bearings, piers and the cables – were responding to both static and mobile load.
“The deflection because of the weight of the structure was perfect and well within the calculated limits. There was no deviation even in the stress-bearing capacity of the cables,” said a senior official of the PWD. “Everything was according to the design and the prescribed calculations.”
The results of the load tests were compiled and sent to the Taiwan-based design consultant for assessment. Sources said experts at the firm were satisfied with the degree of deflection.
The design consultant has approved the results and certified that the bridge is “ready to use” — a clearance that is mandatory for any structure before it is opened to traffic.
“Since the commissioner of railway safety observed how the load test was carried out, we hope the railway wouldn’t sit on the report for long,” said an official at Nabanna.
While the state government awaits the nod, the new bridge has started getting its final coat of paint. All the loose ends are being tied up, including the lights and the road-markings.