One of the key flaws that caused the collapse of the suspension bridge in Morbi last year, which resulted in the deaths of 135 people, was the welding of old suspenders with new ones, according to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that the Gujarat government created.
The five-member SIT included these conclusions in its “Preliminary Report on Morbi Bridge Incident,” which was turned in in December 2022. The state Urban Development Agency recently provided the Morbi Municipality with the report.
The suspension bridge over the Machchu River built in the British era was operated and maintained by Ajanta Manufacturing Ltd (Oreva Group), which is also responsible for the collapse on October 30, 2017. The SIT had discovered numerous flaws in the bridge’s operation, maintenance, and repairs.
Members of the SIT included an IAS officer named Rajkumar Beniwal, an IPS officer named Subhash Trivedi, a secretary and chief engineer from the state’s department of roads and buildings, as well as a structural engineering professor.
The SIT reported that one of the two major cables of the bridge, built over the river Machchhu by the former rulers in 1887, was experiencing corrosion problems, with nearly half of its wires “perhaps already broken” even before the cable broke on October 30 in the evening.
The SIT claims that the main cable on the river’s upstream bank broke, causing the disaster. Seven strands, each made up of seven steel wires, made up each cable. According to the SIT report, a total of 49 wires were bundled into seven strands to create this cable.
“22 of the 49 wires (of that cable) were found to be corroded, suggesting that those wires may have already snapped prior to the occurrence. Recently, the remaining 27 wires snapped “According to the SIT’s findings.
Additionally, the SIT discovered that during the renovations, “The new suspenders were welded to the existing suspenders (steel rods connecting the cable with the platform deck). As a result, suspenders’ behaviour changed. To support the load in these kinds of bridges, single rod suspenders should be utilised “.
Notably, the Morbi Municipality had given Oreva Group (Ajanta Manufacturing Limited) the contract to maintain and operate the bridge without the general board’s consent. Oreva Group had closed the bridge in March 2022 for renovations and had reopened it on October 26 without any prior approval or inspection.
Nearly 300 people were reportedly on the bridge at the moment of collapse, which was “far greater” than the load carrying capacity of the bridge, according to the SIT. But it said that lab tests would establish the bridge’s real carrying capability. The investigation report also noted that replacing the wooden planks with an aluminium deck contributed to the collapse.
“Instead of using flexible timber boards, the walking structure was constructed from rigid aluminium panels. The number of fatalities might have been reduced if there had been individual wooden planks, as there were (before reconstruction). Moreover, before opening the bridge, no load test or structure test was performed “It was ad.
According to the SIT, the deck is less flexible and less likely to deform in its own plane since the aluminium honeycomb panels were glued together tightly with no space between them. The usage of aluminium also might have increased the bridge’s overall weight.
Ten suspects, including the managing director of Oreva Group Jaysukh Patel, have already been detained by Morbi police under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 336 (act which endangers human life), 337 (causing harm to any person by performing any rash or negligent act), and 338. (causing grievous hurt by doing rash or negligent act).
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