KOLKATA: West Bengal Public Work Department (PWD) issued a schedule for the maintenance of bridges and flyovers recently, making the “visual inspection” to be mandatory which should be conducted four times a year along with an annual health check-up.
According to the notification released in this regard, the periodic inspection will be the responsibility of respective divisions assigned. Each division will take up visual inspection of the bridge four times a year ~ February, May, August, and November which includes repairing of the bridges and its proper maintenance under their jurisdictions.
The notification specified that any case which requires expert opinion shall be informed in writing to the Bridge Inspection and Monitoring Cell. Regular follow ups with the cell shall be carried so that the advice is received early and action is initiated.
Likewise, health check-up of all bridges will be conducted once a year which will include the testing of various components of the bridge to find out any sign of distress. In order to restore the condition of the bridge, a distress mapping, prescription for repairs and other actions will be taken. Public Works Department (PWD) specified the roles of the divisions and the Bridge Inspection and Monitoring Cell. As per PWD, apart from maintenance, visual inspection, and repairing, the divisions have been empowered to impose the traffic restriction/ blockage and speed restrictions in consultation with the cell as and when needed. It has to maintain a register for each bridge with original drawings and specifications, details of all repairs and other work carried out on the bridge and inspection reports.
The activities will be monitored by the zonal committee. An apex committee at the state level will monitor the entire matter once in two months. This committee will recommend to the principal secretary of the department in order to take any policy decision.
In September 2018, a flyover collapsed in Majerhat area of south Kolkata, a bridge in Phansidewa, located near Siliguri and even a portion of an under-construction bridge collapsed in Kakdwip.