Keeping in mind the safety of its passengers, the Indian Railways on Thursday said that it carried out third party inspection of identified and critical 815 bridges, road over bridges and foot over bridges on its network.
The national transporter has a vast network of 1,50,390 bridges on its tracks across the country, in addition to 3,449 ROBs and 3,771 FOBs as on April 1, 2020.
According to Railway Ministry, the national transporter follows a well-established system of annual inspection and maintenance of railway bridges or ROBs or FOBs by the designated railway officials as per the laid down schedule.
A Ministry spokesperson said that the railways in 2018 decided to carry out third party audit of identified and critical bridges, ROBs and FOBs to have an independent expert view on the condition of the bridge. The move was meant to bring more confidence and reliability on the existing infrastructure and with the involvement of the third party, he said.
The ministry said that the objective of third party inspection by expert agencies was to have bird's eye view of condition of critical components which may have been adversely affected in corrosion prone areas. The spokesperson said that third party audit of critical bridges or ROBs or FOBs are being done by expert agencies like IITs, NITs, SERC etc.
The official said zonal railways were advised to carry out one time third party technical audit of the bridges duly checking all aspects of the bridge -- strength assessment including NDT testing, design adequacy for present day loading, physical condition etc. as considered necessary -- by engaging expert national or international agencies.
The third party audit of the bridges were undertaken, first for all mega bridges, railway bridges with ORN one ratings, ROBs and FOBs, second for railway bridges with ORN two ratings and bridges with speed restrictions, third for all important bridges more than 80 years old and for any other bridge which railway consider critical from the condition point of view.
The official said that the major benefits for the third party audit was realised in Mumbai area where dilapidated conditions were noticed in 49 ROBs, adding essential repairs were carried out in 43 ROBs while six ROBs were closed, dismantled and their rebuilding is under progress.
Simultaneously, dilapidated condition was noticed in 127 FOBs and essential repairs were carried out in 95 FOBs and 32 FOBs were closed and dismantled for replacement. He said that rebuilding work has been completed in 20 FOBs and 12 FOBs are in progress.
The official said that out of total identified 1,107 bridges, ROBs and FOBs, third party audit of 815 bridges, ROBs and FOBs has been completed and balance works are in progress.