Ahmedabad and flyover malfunctions/mishaps are getting increasingly common. Pre-empting an accident waiting to happen perhaps, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is contemplating demolition of the Hatkeshwar Flyover, barely five years after its inauguration in 2017.
Why? Well, the flyover started developing cracks and serious breaches in 2021. At least four concrete testing laboratories — March 2021 till August 2022– were conducted by the civic body after serious damage was reported on the flyover.
This raises the question of the defect liability period (DLP). DLP refers to the period of time after the construction of a project during which a contractor has to remedy any defect/s. The AMC has fixed a DLP of three years for contractors involved in road resurfacing, and seven years for those engaged in building housing for the urban poor.
Interestingly, the AMC got nine flyovers built in the last five years, at a cost of Rs 551.61 crore. However, the DLP for these was set at one year only. Hence, civic body insiders point at “undue advantage” being given to contractors building flyovers and bridges.
The AMC engaged five consultants to study the Hatkeshwar Flyover. These include CIMEC Technologies, e-Cube Concrete Consultants, KCT Consultancy Services along with IIT Roorkee and SV-NIT. All the reports now confirm that the bridge has significant structural flaws and quality issues.
The SVNIT report by a professor of civil engineering Atul Desai warned stated the loss of concrete strength had caused cracking and crushing in the PSC that led to the sagging of the bridge. “After cracks appear, moisture ingression may lead to corrosion of reinforcement and cause further cracking,” the report said.
Two reports note that “the flyover had just 20 percent strength than what was intended.”
Built at a cost of Rs 51 crore, the 563m long, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj flyover in Hatkeshwar, was thrown open to the public in 2017, just before the Assembly elections.
Taking leads from this tarnished glory, the AMC recently decided to increase the DLPs of five upcoming flyovers, including the one at Vadaj Junction, to 10 years.
A senior AMC engineering department official said, “The poor quality of Hatkeshwar flyover was the major reason why tenders for the five upcoming flyovers will set the DLP at 10 years. These include railway over bridges.”
The official added that the upcoming flyovers at Vadaj junction, Naroda Patia, Thaltej-Hebatpur railway overbridge, Vejalpur-Anandnagar railway overbridge and Makarba-Corporate Road railway overbridge will have DLPs of 10 years.
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