The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) today ruled out any danger posed to the historic Saraighat Bridge over the Brahmaputra in Guwahati in view of apprehension aired in a section of the media in view of some cracks developing on the concrete surface of the bridge.
The NFR’s chief public relation officer (CPRO), P J Sharma claimed that the media highlighted the matter sans verification with the railway authority.
The CPRO stated, “The N F Railway would like to categorically state here that there is no danger to the bridge and the N F Railway planning to carry out a massive repair of the road deck portion in the next few days. The work will be taken up in full swing with round-the-clock working. As many as 80 identified deck slabs of Saraighat Bridge are going to be replaced. After completing the slab, Asphalt layer will be provided over entire bridge after replacing all expansion joints.”
Saraighat Rail-cum-Road Bridge, which was commissioned in the year 1963, handles a huge volume of road and rail traffic everyday. Although the steel girders of the bridge have been constantly maintained as per laid down schedule and works like steel painting, greasing of supports, have been carried out, the road portion could not be adequately attended due to the constant presence of large volume of road traffic.
The old concrete joints on road slab had started giving trouble resulted in falling off of concrete from the slab. As an immediate measure thick steel plates have been provided to protect the deck slab and also to provide smooth ride. Such steel plates have been provided at five locations. For permanent repair the contract for execution of work has been finalized by Railway in November 2018. The selected agency for the repair work has arranged necessary tools, equipment, machinery and required manpower.
For repairing to be carried out vehicular traffic is to be stopped for 90 days, as the process will have multiple stages requiring fixing of new high strength steel and high strength concrete. In this connection the traffic department and local administration have been contacted and it is likely that repairing work will be allowed after Magh Bihu. The commissioning of the new road bridge has also made such planning possible as there is now an alternative path for the diversion of traffic, which was not there earlier.