• Health audit for Howrah and Bascule bridges by city port
    Statesman | 26 May 2023
  • Two crucial bridges of the city, serving as links to Kolkata from other adjoining areas for decades, are to undergo an overhaul this year. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata is gearing up for health audits followed by overall repair of Howrah Bridge and Bascule Bridge in the next few months.

    The city port has started some repair work on Howrah Bridge recently, including scrapping out of the bitumen layer.

    The city port is now planning for a complete repair of the bridge that was opened in the year 1943. For undertaking the major project, the SMP Kolkata has roped in experts from IIT Chennai and National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) that functions as the technological arm of the ministry of shipping.

    The experts would conduct a study and health audit of the bridge after which the repair and maintenance work would commence after the monsoons. The city port is planning to float a tender in two months.

    The last health audit of the bridge, according to the chairman of the SMP Kolkata, Rathendra Raman, was carried out between 1992 and 2003. Likewise, the Bascule Bridge that functions as a crucial link to the port area with the main parts of the city, is also in the list of bridges planned for major repairs and overhaul.

    "If we construct a new bridge it would cost around Rs 300 crore while that of the repairs would be about Rs 71 crore," informed the chairman of the city port. "Now we are going for a global tender for which there are some guidelines. We roped in a consultant and we are awaiting a reply from the ministry. As soon as the response comes, the global tender will be floated."

    As pointed out by the chairman, the bridge was built by an Austrian company. Hence international expertise would be required for the repairing of the bridge for which a global tender needs to be called.
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