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Corrosion Officially Blamed for Mumbai Bridge Collapse

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

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An inquiry ordered after the collapse of a rail bridge at Mumbai’s Andheri station on July 3 has yielded initial results, with corrosion of steel brackets and the presence of additional weight labeled the likely causes.

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal ordered the inquiry. The preliminary report, authored by Sushil Chandra, Commissioner of Railway Safety, indicated that the bridge failure was caused by the failure of Railway staff and others. The collapse killed pedestrian Asmita Katkar, injuring four others.

Bridge Collapse

Goyal said that around 700 employees, aided by industry experts, were carrying out restoration work at the time of the incident. The span is part of the Gokhale Bridge, which connects east and west Andheri. Railway officials noted that the collapse damaged overhead wire structures.

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

Despite blame being assigned to recent excessive rainfall, a senior railway official told Mumbai Mirror soon after the collapse 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.

Inquiry Findings

The CRS office issued a note detailing that civil officials had permitted extra weight, composed of cables, sand, paver blocks and other materials, on the bridge without the approval of Western Railway. The materials were provided by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. The additional loads were not factored in to the original bridge design, and paired with deep corrosion and pitting of supportive cantilever steel brackets, the span collapsed.

“There has always been a conflict over responsibility for the [rail bridge],” said Sushil Chandra, of CRS. “I have recommended that a MOU be signed, specifying the area and roles of both agencies. Further, modern technology and better equipment, apart from manual inspection of the [rail bridges], should be carried out.”

According to Hindustan Times, the CRS is holding Western Rail accountable for the incident, and someone in that company will likely be penalized. The final report will indicate which company is responsible for the failure, a senior railway board official told Hindustan Times under condition of anonymity.

The final report is to be submitted to the Railway Board and the Ministry of Railways within two or three months.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Government; Infrastructure

Comment from Regina Montgomery, (7/24/2018, 10:15 AM)

When I read that "someone in that company likely will be penalized" all I can think is that a system that allows an opportunity for this to happen needs to be fixed. Finding scapegoats is a cheap and convenient solution devoid of ethics.

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