The project to widen and rebuild the side bays of the Ernakulam North overbridge is nearing completion. The two new lanes are expected to be thrown open to traffic by the first week of September.

The project to widen and rebuild the side bays of the Ernakulam North overbridge is nearing completion. The two new lanes are expected to be thrown open to traffic by the first week of September.

As part of this, 12 pre-cast RCC girders – the last of the total 40 girders, were put in place on Monday midnight and Tuesday. The two new lanes would form lanes one and four of the proposed four-lane bridge, for which a nine-month deadline had been set. The existing bridge will be pulled down and rebuilt once traffic is diverted through the new lanes. The metro-rail pillars will pass through the centre of the four-lane bridge, at a height of seven metres above the bridge surface.

Easing traffic

“The two-lanes could have been opened to traffic before August, but for the delay of about two months in relocating power and water lines. Lanes two and three at the centre will be completed in another nine months, beginning September,” said an official of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The decision to widen the bridge was taken since it was a major bottleneck in the city and would have further choked traffic when work on the Kochi metro rail begins.

Advanced techniques are being adopted for speedy completion of the bridge and to lessen the disturbance to local residents and motorists. “Silent generators are being used and a specialist agency was roped in to dismantle the bridge’s two-wheeler bays. Grievances of nearby shop owners and others are attended to immediately and remedial action taken,” said an engineer associated with the project.

Modern machinery

The girders were pre-cast at the Manappattiparambu ground and taken to the work site in trailer lorries. The use of modern machinery ensures that work can go on even when traffic is moving through the bridge’s central portion.

“Boom-placer pumps that can be extended upto 30 m are being used for concreting. They are remote-controlled. As for piling, crawler-mounted hydraulic rigs whose height can be adjusted were used. A telescopic fully-automatic crane with 100 MT capacity is being used and it can stretch from lane one to lane four over vehicular traffic,” he said.

With the project’s deadline approaching, more workers and engineers are being posted on night shift. The retaining walls on the approach spans are being built. Though the structural portion will be over in another 15 days, the mud that would be filled within has to consolidate.

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