The first hurdle is the tendering course of. Separate tenders have to be floated for dismantling and development. The PWD had tried for a 12 months to award a contract for the restore of Majerhat bridge and failed earlier than it collapsed. “For any project worth over Rs 1 crore, it requires a minimum of 21 days to float a tender. There has to be two bids for construction — technical and financial. Adhering to this timeline will be tough. Since this is a special case with the CM herself involved, work orders can be issued within seven days if a special sanction is granted. Still, doing so for a project worth a few hundred crores is unprecedented,” stated a veteran PWD official.
The subsequent problem is undertaking planning and execution. Precision and self-discipline required to stick to deadlines has been lacking from infrastructure tasks executed within the metropolis. Flyovers and Metro traces have been constructed a lot sooner in Delhi and Mumbai than it has in Kolkata. “Only L&T has managed to stick to deadlines while constructing flyovers. Others have floundered. There have been time overruns to shift unmapped underground utilities and delays owing to police’s refusal to cordon off traffic stretches to allow unimpeded construction. The advantage here is that the executing firm will have to tackle only two issues — construction over train tracks and shifting power lines,” stated one other PWD official.
The subsequent problem is to do survey, exams, design, fabrication and erection inside 12 months. According to bridge designer Biswajit Som, soil test and alignment survey takes three-four months as does design engineering and approval. “Fabricating a bridge, which will span over five train lines and a canal, and construction will take 20 months at least. Even quality tests take a month. Hence, it should take a couple of years from start to finish. Even that is a challenging timeline,” he stated.
While designing the present pre-stressed concrete girder bridge, engineer Khounish Roy, a 1935 batch BE College-Shibpur passout, used a number of short-height girders to present power whereas making certain a delicate gradient in strategy roads that additionally did not spill to Burdwan Road to the north and the Alipore Mint to the south. Designers of the brand new bridge can have no such constraints as trendy automobiles can deal with steeper gradients with ease.
Som felt it might make sense if PWD first obtained the brand new bridge constructed after which dismantled the previous bridge. “Create a deck where the cave-in has taken place for use by light vehicles while the other bridge is being constructed. Once the new bridge is ready, do away with the old one,” he urged.
Achyut Ghosh, one other bridge engineer, supplied a radical concept: retain the embankments and the piers of the previous bridge and assemble simply the girders and deck anew. “This will slash time,” he stated, including that work would have to be carried out on a war-footing to obtain the near-impossible. “It is an opportunity to show the world that Bengal can do it,” he stated excitedly.