International Road Federation ( IRF), a Geneva based global body working for safer and better roads and safe mobility world wide expressed concern at thecollapse of the foot over bridge in Mumbai yesterday. In similar incidents in the recent past where lives were lost, the IRF had stressed on the need for carrying out Inventory and Condition survey of all bridges and culverts on rail and road networks, presently being maintained by State Government agencies including Municipal Corporations,  Public Works Department and civic agencies as a precautionary measure.

 “The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI)  have already appointed consultants to carry out Inventory andConditions survey of bridges and culverts  (for updating the Bridge Management Survey (BMS)   on existing highways and roads. The Ministry of Railways, State Governments in the country and Municipalities  should be proactive when it comes to safety of vehicles and pedestrian bridges affecting public life” said Mr K K Kapila, Chairman, International Road Federation (IRF) .

 “Worldwide, the Inventory and Condition survey is carried out regularly with focus on the structural safety of large bridge structures such as vehicular bridges which are  Six meters (20 Feet)  or more in length to ensure that these bridges are structurally sound for vehicular traffic. As per the norms, a newly constructed or renovated  bridge is inspected within 90 days of the bridge being opened to traffic and every 12 months throughout the lifecycle of the structure. The results of these mandated inspections provide information on the structural safety of the bridges and assigns each bridge a specific sufficiency rating that speaks about the overall health condition of every single bridge.” said Mr Kapila.

“Similar Inventory and Condition  process should be carried out for bridges less than 20 feet, i.e. smaller bridge structures or pedestrian bridges, to lay the foundations of a good bridge maintenance programme based on quality inspection data, including complete and accurate information on the bridge structures and their individual aspects for the bridge structures falling in the purview of the Centre, State or a City   agency, These structures need to be  regularly inspected for ‘Sufficiency’  rating as per requirement of Bridge Inventory Standards.” Added Mr Kapila  

“The sufficiency rating is a numerical rating between 0 and 100 given to each highway bridge. The value is based on a bridge’s structural adequacy and safety, essentially for public use, and its serviceability and functional obsolescence.” He added

“This  will ensure safety of vehicular and pedestrian bridges and public life” said Mr Kapila

He also stressed on the need of new  new generation pre- engineered  quick launch bridges that are being used worldwide  for restoring traffic within days.

“Innovative technique of building large number of bridges including Acrow in short span of time at low cost in the sector is fast picking up across the world. In countries like the United States of America, China, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, this technique of building bridges is widely used. Focus should be given to using modern techniques for improvement of conventional bridges in the country which form the majority. ” he said 

The Indian road network consists of more than  one lakh bridges. Similarly more than 30,000 bridges on Indian Railways network were more than 100 years old, evolution of technologies that facilitate quick construction of bridges on a running line are the need of the hour .

“Recently the foot over-bridge constructed at Elphinstone Station, Mumbai was in the news.  The Army Engineers received acclaim for the speedy work. Such Quick launch Bridges are handy when there is pressure of time such as during disasters when key areas are cut off or to speed up a project where time is adversely affecting the cost of the project.” He added