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Corrosion Questioned in Mumbai Bridge Collapse

Friday, July 6, 2018

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A portion of a rail bridge collapsed at Mumbai’s Andheri station earlier this month, reportedly due to heavy rain, leaving five people injured and several thousand stranded. According to reports, however, an inspection of the bridge conducted months ago revealed severe corrosion along the span.

According to Hindustan Times, the span is part of the Gokhale Bridge, which connects east and west Andheri. Railway officials noted that the collapse damaged overhead wire structures, interrupting train service for a day.

Bridge Collapse

Railway minister Piyush Goyal said that around 700 employees, aided by industry experts, were carrying out restoration work at the time of the incident. Goyal ordered an inquiry into the incident, and ordered that officials speed up repair work and restore service.

“The commissioner of rail safety will come up with a report in 15 days,” Goyal said.

An official from the Disaster Management Unit said that a high amount of rainfall had caused cracks in the pedestrian overbridge, which they attributed to the collapse. A larger tragedy was averted thanks to an alert conductor who applied emergency brakes to halt the train not far from the site.

The railway minister also noted that Railways, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the IIT-Mumbai will conduct a joint safety audit of all the 445 road overbridges, foot overbridges and other similar structures over the next six months.

Bridge Inspection

Despite blame being laid at first to recent excessive rainfall, a senior railway official told Mumbai Mirror that a bridge inspector had carried out a detailed survey of the 47-year-old bridge in April and found a large amount of corrosion along the span.

“A report was submitted to the divisional engineering department saying there was a need for maintenance work to be carried out in a planned manner,” the official told the publication. “The engineering department had drafted a proposal based on the inspection report.”

The proposal was sent to the railway’s accounts department for cost estimation, where it was still being processed. According to protocol, the estimation should have been forwarded to the BMC to release funds for repairs, as the bridge itself is a BMC property. From there, the agency would have conducted its own investigation before releasing the funds.

“In this case, the cost estimation was never sent to the BMC,” a Western Railway source told Mumbai Mirror.

On Tuesday (July 3), Western Railway claimed that the audit “didn’t find any structural flaw in the bridge,” which seems to contradict the findings of the survey conducted in April.

The bridge was reportedly last repaired in 2011. Both agencies are now claiming it is the responsibility of the other to maintain the bridge.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Government; Infrastructure

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