Bhor Ghat bridge to be ready by Jan. 15

Tough task: The track at the section runs between a valley over 50 metres deep on one side and a rock face around 50 metre high on the other.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The Central Railway (CR) is facing an uphill challenge, both literally and figuratively, as it builds a 43-metre bridge on Bhor Ghat between Karjat and Lonavala. The work on the bridge is the main reason why CR has had to cancel several intercity and shuttle services between Mumbai and Pune and has short-terminated five long-distance trains at Pune.

Despite the difficult task, the CR aims to have the line functioning by January 15.

The section, known as Km 117 in railway parlance, lies on the Up line (towards Mumbai) between Nagnath and Monkey Hill stations. The ghat section has three lines: Up, Down and Middle, with only the latter two being functional at present due to the work.

The track at the section runs between a valley over 50 metres deep on one side and a rock face around 50 metre high on the other. The site has no road access, the rail line being the only way to reach it. To complicate matters further, a part of the track lies on a 150-metre-long viaduct and the entire section has two tunnels at each end, further reducing the space to work.

Highlighting some of the challenges, additional divisional railway manager, (infrastructure), CR, Ashutosh Gupta said they had to build two piers to construct the 43-metre-long bridge span, for which 580 micro piles needed to be built. “The material for the work has to be transported by hand for a few kilometres as the train can only reach until a certain point. The machinery for micro piling and JCBs had to be offloaded on a small patch of land next to the track,” he said.

Getting material to site

Work is under way round the clock, with 40 to 50 personnel working in each shift and around 350 trucks of boulders and 55 RMC trucks of concrete transported to the site. The viaduct will get two steel girders of 25 and 17 metres respectively, each weighing over 100 tonnes, which will be brought to the site in December.

Transporting concrete to the location posed a huge challenge, and CR had to use chemicals to increase its setting time. “It takes at least one hour to transport material to the site from Lonavala, and concrete usually sets in about half an hour. Hence, we have had to use this new technique to ensure concrete is usable when it reaches the site,” Mr. Sutar said.

The prolonged rains have also added to the problems, and work picked up pace only in November after the last showers in the ghat section. CR has completed around 60% of the piling work. The cost of the construction is expected to be ₹10 crore.

CR has taken up the work after a section of the track began to sink after heavy rainfall in the region. The downpour completely washed away the soil underneath the tracks, creating a gap of nearly four metres.

Chief public relations officer, CR, Shivaji Sutar said even after restoration work, the tracks were sinking. A geotechnical study by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, said the abutment had a 30-metre-deep weakness. “We decided, as a permanent solution, to build a new bridge viaduct connecting the existing one,” Mr. Sutar said.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:43:05 PM |

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