NHAI asked to revise twice-approved plan because of ‘safety reason’

The construction of a parallel railway underpass or road underbridge (RUB) at Padil on the National Highway 75 will be further delayed as the Railways has asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to revise the twice-approved blueprint citing safety reasons.

Other similar projects at B.C. Road and Baikampady are under way.

Officials in the NHAI said that the South Western Railway had approved the drawing (general arrangement drawing) of the underpass at Padil on May 12, 2006, as it was maintaining two railway lines there. As the railway lines were transferred to the Southern Railway later, the NHAI was asked to take fresh approval from the latter. The Southern Railway approved the drawing on August 31, 2012.

After inviting bids, it was late in 2012, the NHAI selected an agency for taking up three projects at an estimated cost of Rs. 36.89 crore.

While work at B.C. Road and Baikampady began after a month, the RUB work at Padil had to wait for sometime as it had to be built using the box pushing technology where a pre-cast box would be pushed under the existing railway track.

As per the approval given, a pre-cast box measuring 30m long and 15m height had to be pushed under the railway track. The Railways do not allows for taking up this work between April and November because of soil conditions.

The officials said that the Chief Bridge Engineer of the Southern Railway on August 29, 2013, asked the authority to revise the drawing to extend the length of the box to 50m. The Chief Bridge Engineer’s letter follows a recommendation to this effect from the Divisional Railway Manager, Palakkad, on July 8, 2013, over safety reasons. Though the Railways has not explained how longer bridge makes it safer, it is understood that it would provide for greater soil compaction particularly at the either end and make the bridge stronger.

Though the NHAI through its August 5 and August 13 letters requested the Railways to allow for going ahead with work as per the old plan, it was not considered.

Now a revised plan would now have to be submitted to the Southern Railway.

The officials said that now the work could be started probably in December, 2014.

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