Kolkata: No railway safety panel nod for Majerhat superstructure | Kolkata News


KOLKATA: The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) has refused to approve Majerhat road overbridge’s (ROB) superstructure, pointing out 31 procedural and technical lapses. Fulfilling so many preconditions will push the bridge’s commissioning further, state officials fear. They have sought the railway’s intervention.

CRS, under the ministry of civil aviation, gives safety clearance to any railway project across the country. The state public works department (PWD), implementing the Majerhat ROB reconstruction project, needs its nod to start building the superstructure by launching girders over railway tracks.

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It is up to all the government agencies to clear the logjam. Two different zones of the city are seeing massive traffic disruption and citizens would be hoping for speedy solutions.

A span of Majerhat road overbridge (ROB), that comes within the ambit of Eastern Railway (ER), fell on September 4, 2018. The new bridge, being built since January, last year, has already missed its September 27 and December 31, 2019 deadlines. The state holds railways responsible for the delay. On November 25, CM Mamata Banerjee wrote to railway minister Piyush Goyal seeking his intervention to expedite ER’s nods for building the bridge’s superstructure and in getting the CRS sanction. But now, the crucial CRS approval is pending with the civil aviation ministry. Railways merely acts as a messenger between the state and CRS, which is unlikely to give its go-ahead unless all its observations are complied with.
Under these circumstances, the bridge might as well miss its revised April-2020 deadline. State officials on Wednesday submitted some documents sought by CRS to railway engineers. “Railways is trying to get this sorted. Hopefully, CRS will be happy with these and come for another inspection on Thursday,” a PWD official said.
“If we were to fulfil all the issues, it’ll take three or four months to get the CRS clearance for the launching work. After that, there is the very complex job of fixing the pylons. Finally comes the deck construction which is a time-consuming phase because the casting must be done as per specifications of the Indian Road Congress (IRC). The Majerhat ROB will be a cable-stayed bridge with two pylons or towers from which the cables will support the bridge deck,” he said.
“The bridge can be unveiled sooner if CRS forgoes one or two issues, like wind tunnel testing, which alone should take three or four months,” a state official rued. The wind tunnel test is conducted to evaluate wind-resistance stability of a bridge. It is basic, yet one of the most important tests for structural strength. “If we were to fulfil all the observations made by CRS, the project can’t be wrapped up before September,” the official added.
Before delving into technical aspects, CRS has asked some uncomfortable questions. They include reasons for seeking its approval after the project commenced and going for a cablestayed bridge instead of adopting the standard RDSO-certified (bow-string girder and other) designs.
CRS also wants to know why RDSO’s clearance wasn’t sought for the cable-stayed design despite Railway Board’s instructions in a letter on June 4, 2019. “The design should be submitted to RDSO for their scrutiny and clearance,” writes Mohammad Latief Khan, CRS, eastern circle, Kolkata.

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