The Northeast Frontier Railway on Friday said that it will complete the repair work on the historical Saraighat Bridge by June 20.
Saraighat Bridge, the first rail-cum-road bridge built in 1963 in Assam, was closed for use in February this year as it required repairs. The closure of the bridge has led to a congestion in road traffic into Guwahati.
“The task of completing the repair and restoration of the upper deck of the Saraighat rail-cum-road bridge over Brahmaputra near Guwahati is nearing completion and the bridge is likely to be reopened within the targeted date of June 20.
“Some 500 workers have been engaged to carry out the technically challenging task of replacing all the 54 slabs on the entire upper deck and the replacement of 11 expansion joints over the pillars is progressing as planned,” said PJ Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer, NF Railway.
Sharma said that the slabs and the 11 connecting expansion joints were badly damaged and the methods adopted to replace them involve breaking down the concrete slabs and the expansion joint slabs.
“On an average, 75 workers per day are engaged in breaking the slabs and 45 workers per day are engaged in carrying these broken pieces away for cleaning. The repair and replacement of the upper deck slabs of the bridge is particularly difficult because train movement on the lower deck continues without disruption,” he said.
The Chief PRO added that special permission had been obtained from the Commissioner of Railway Safety for uninterrupted train movement during the repair work by providing a guarantee that care would be taken to ensure that no debris from the upper deck falls on the lower deck of the bridge.
“Accordingly, special temporary scaffolding was erected under the upper deck to collect broken pieces from the deck. After breaking down of the old concrete slabs and the expansion joint slabs, fresh 10 mm thick steel plates are laid and welded to the bridge over which high-strength concrete is laid to make the deck slabs. More than 500 tonnes of steel plate and reinforcement rods have been used for the deck slabs alone,” he said.
“Once the deck-slabs are ready and the expansion joints replaced, 50 to 65 mm thick heavy-duty Semi-Dense Bituminous Concrete (SDBC) will be laid over the entire deck to facilitate vehicular movement. To ease the bumps over the expansion joints, 150 mm thick aluminium plates will be laid over them under the SDBC. This will make driving over the bridge comfortable even at high speed,” he said.
He added that the bridge repair work had progressed well without any major traffic disruption because of the cooperation offered by the people and the civil administration.