The 563m long, Rs 51 crore Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj flyover in Hatkeshwar, thrown open for commuters in 2017, just before the assembly elections, had just 20% strength than what was intended.
For the last five years, thousands of vehicles, private, heavy and light commercial vehicles took this flyover everyday – oblivious of grave deficiencies of the flyover.
A court-monitored enquiry should be ordered in the Hatkeshwar flyover incident. In December 2021, the city has already witnessed, how a flyover deck in Mumatpura in South Bopal collapsed a few months ahead of its inauguration. Responsibilities on officials and contractors should be fixed or else sensitive structures like flyovers could turn into graveyards for commuters. The state government should formulate a body to conduct a periodic audit of public structures and grade them on whether they meet standards of public safety.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had commissioned two private labs to conduct primary tests. The labs took samples of the concrete from the flyover and found that that against the required compressive strength of 40 Newton per metre square (N/m2), Hatkeshwar bridge’s strength varied between 8-10 N/m2.
The AMC is now awaiting IIT-Roorkee’s report in the next two days, after which the civic body will decide whether to demolish the flyover or not.
Within months of its inauguration, locals had begun complaining of potholes appearing on the flyover after each monsoon. This continued for next four years.
In November last year, the bridge’s pot-bearings gave away after which scaffolding were placed underneath the bridge. The AMC has been slow to react to the grave situation. It is now that a vigilance inquiry was called to fix responsibility for the dangerous discrepancies in the flyover.
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