NHAI getting ready to handle heavy vehicular traffic in the coming years

With political parties coming up with big plans for development of industries and a string of seaports dotting nearly 1,000-km-long coast of Andhra Pradesh post bifurcation, the National Highways Authority of India anticipates the movement of a larger volume of over-dimensional cargo (ODC) between the State’s most important ports at Visakhapatnam, Krishnapatnam and Kakinada in the near to medium term.

Though transformation of seaports into hubs of maritime trade and large manufacturing industries coming up in their vast hinterlands takes several years to acquire a tangible shape, the NHAI is expected to be prepared to handle the general surge in vehicular traffic, particularly the likelihood of a larger number of ODC criss-crossing the highways.

The Vijayawada Project Implementation Unit (PIU) comprising Chilakaluripet (Guntur)-Gundugolanu (West Godavari) and Annasagaram (near Nandigama)-Machilipatnam stretches (measuring approximately 300 kilometres) of Chennai-Kolkata and Pune-Machilipatnam national highways respectively have a record of five to six units of ODC ranging from 50 to 100 tons of total laden weight each (TLW- it includes the weight of a vehicle) passing through them in a month. The number is likely to go up in the coming years.

Not good for bridges

“Cargoes weighing more than that will not be given permission for movement on national highways mainly keeping the high chances of damage to bridges en route. Vehicles carrying such massive cargoes will not be allowed to get on to the roads and if such over-dimensional goods are imported through ships, they will not be permitted to leave the ports for safety reasons,” said NHAI Project Director (Vijayawada) G. Sreedhar.

He pointed out that bridges were designed according to codes stipulated by Indian Road Congress. The movement of an ODC weighing more than 100 TLW on a bridge, whatever be its span and robustness, will certainly affect stability.

That is the reason why such ODC are strictly barred on national highways. The NHAI gives permissions to multi-axle trucks carrying ODC after carefully assessing the impact of stress exerted by them on roads and more crucially the bridges. Period checking of bridges is done to ensure smooth passage of ODC, Mr. Sreedhar added.

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