Bengal's longest flyover develops crack in just a year

Kolkata, Jan 8 (PTI) West Bengal's longest flyover, which connects Jinjira Bazar at Maheshtala to Batanagar in the southern suburbs of the city, has developed cracks barely a year since it was opened to traffic, a senior official of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA)said.

The cracks were detected on pillars 121 and 122 of the 7 km-long Sampriti(Harmony) flyover on Wednesday morning during an inspection and vehicular movement on it was stopped soon afterwards, Ashish Sen, chief engineer of roads and bridges department of KMDA said.

The bridge was dedicated to the people by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in January 2019.

'We have stopped vehicular movement on the flyover as a precautionary measure,' Sen told PTI.

The cracks on the pillars could have developed due to contraction in the dry winter weather, he said and dismissed any possible threats to the structure.

'There is nothing to worry as such cracks develop because of contraction which happens during the dry winter season. An opposite process of expansion may be witnessed during summer,' he said.

An inspection of the cracks were carried out by KMDA engineers. The report will be sent to an advisory panel for a final decision on the matter, he said, adding vehicular movement will be suspended on the flyover till then.

A portion of Majherhat bridge, about 2 km from Sampriti flyover, had collapsed in September 2018 killing at least two persons.

The state has demolised the entire Majerhat Bridge and is constructing a new one in its place.

Incidentally, a survey conducted by a private agency for the state government last year had identified seven bridges out of 20 as 'most vulnerable requiring urgent immediate repair'.

The seven bridges are Bijon setu, Gouribari Aurobindo Setu, Belgachhia bridge, Tollygunge Circular Road bridge, Dhakuria bridge, Santragachi bridge and Tallah bridge.

The government has already decided to demolish the 657 m-long arterial Tallah bridge in the northern part of the city and build a new one in its place. PTI SCH KK KK