Damaged bridges on Container Road still out of bounds

The Kumbalam-Aroor bridge will be thrown open to vehicles this week after repairing the potholes.

On Monday, a milling machine brought from Andhra Pradesh scooped out the tarred portion, exposing the concrete surface. “There are a few uneven surfaces over concrete and patch work will be done using bitumen. Vehicles will be able to use the bridge soon after,” said NHAI’s Kochi project director C.T. Abraham.

The bridge was built in late 1980’s by the Kerala State Construction Corporation using pre-stressed concrete. Five months after traffic was banned through the bridge, NHAI recently entrusted a contractor to scoop out the bridge’s tarred, potholed surface.

The repair work is being done on the basis of a report from a team of experts from IIT, Chennai. They spoke of how tarring has to be done afresh, since pothole-filling will not last long, Mr Abraham said.

Potholes developed all over the old bridge within a few months of NHAI resurfacing it in July 2011. Motorists, traffic police, NGOs and youth wings of political parties had blamed NHAI for inordinate delay in fixing the damage, despite the agency collecting hefty toll from highway users. The potholes thus became bigger, exposing the bridge’s concrete surface. After a slew of protests and accidents, NHAI curbed traffic through the bridge in June.

Container road bridges

Though Aroor-Kumbalam bridge is slated to be opened to vehicles next week, NHAI is yet to reopen two brand new bridges which were closed down in 2012 following structural damage. Both were built by Soma Constructions.

The bridge built parallel to the second Goshree bridge was closed to traffic after its gap slab began to sink at an alarming rate.

The NHAI entrusted the probe to civil engineering experts from NIT, Kozhikode, who are yet to finalise their report. To a question on how the problem could be rectified, Mr Abraham said the spans will have to be extended or their number increased, thereby extending the bridge’s viaduct.

Similarly, the Moolampilly-Kothad bridge on the Vallarpadam-Kalamassery Container Road was declared out of bounds for vehicles within a year of it being opened to traffic. This was after a huge chunk of concrete fell off the bridge’s surface, leaving a gaping hole in the bridge.

“Repair works are under way, following which the bridge will be opened to traffic,” Mr Abraham said.

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