Cracks detected atop newly opened Nettoor-Kundannoor overbridge

Cracks detected on the surface of the newly built Nettoor-Kundannur overbridge in Kochi on Friday.

Cracks detected on the surface of the newly built Nettoor-Kundannur overbridge in Kochi on Friday.  

Uncertainty looms over reopening of Palarivattom flyover

Close on the heels of Palarivattom flyover being closed to traffic after cracks were detected on its girders and pier caps within two years of commissioning, cracks were detected at many parts on the surface of the newly built Nettoor-Kundannoor overbridge on Friday.

The bridge runs parallel to the 1-km-long Kundannoor overbridge. An engineer of PWD (Bridges wing) who inspected the structure on the day said that it appeared to be cracks on the surface, across the cement ‘wearing coat’ that was given over the concreted portion of the bridge. “The cement coating was given since the bridge was not tar-coated. The cracks will not affect the bridge’s strength in any way. Remedial measures will be taken after the issue is discussed with higher-ups in the PWD. The bridge is safe for all types of vehicles, including heavy vehicles. The possibility of water seeping into steel rods of the concrete through the cracks is remote,” the engineer said.

Minister for Public Works G. Sudhakaran spoke to PWD officials concerned and directed them to submit a report to him.

M. Swaraj, Thripunithura MLA, was among those who visited the bridge on Friday, on hearing of the surface cracks. “I brought the issue to the Minister’s attention. PWD officials assert that the cracks are not serious. However, experts must inspect them and certify the bridge’s safety,” he said.

Traffic snarls to continue

In the meantime, uncertainty prevails over reopening of Palarivattom flyover to traffic, since PWD chief engineers are reportedly of the opinion that vehicles be permitted only after the structure is rehabilitated using carbon-fibre wrapping method.

The chief engineers are members of an expert committee that was constituted to supervise the ongoing repair works. This would mean that serpentine traffic snarls at Palarivattom Bypass Junction and on roads leading to it will continue for another three months.

Back in the first week of May when repair works of the surface began, the State government and Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) had assured that the flyover would be opened to traffic by May end, prior to reopening of schools and colleges. Almost two months afterwards, RDS Projects, the contracting firm which built the structure, has not completed replacement of faulty bearings, it is learnt. Only resurfacing and reinstallation of expansion joints is over.

Alternative technologies

In the meantime, a senior structural engineer who inspected the flyover said that the expert team from IIT Chennai is engaged in readying a report on rehabilitating the structure which is ridden with cracks on girders and pier caps. “Apart from carbon-fibre wrapping, alternative methods like concrete jacketing or metal (steel) jacketing too are available.”

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 4:16:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cracks-detected-atop-newly-opened-nettoor-kundannoor-overbridge/article28102540.ece

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