Kolkata: Cracks reappear on Ultadanga flyover five years after repair | Kolkata News


KOLKATA: Airport-bound traffic on EM Bypass, Ultadanga Main Road and CIT Road crawled for the better part of Tuesday evening after the Ultadanga flyover, which connects EM Bypass with VIP Road at Lake Town, was shut to both-way traffic for at least three days after an inspection team found cracks on a span in the afternoon.
Officials said the cracks were found on the same span — a 40-metre curved steel structure — that had collapsed in March 2013, which led to the closure of the flyover for around one and a half years.
Following the joint inspection by officers of Kolkata Police, Bidhannagar Police and officials of Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, the custodians of the flyover, traffic on the flyover was shut from 7pm on Tuesday.
“I remained stuck near Salt Lake stadium for about an hour. Nothing seems to be moving on the road. I had to pick up a relative from the airport. I have no clue when can I reach there,” said Binoy Roy, a resident of Salt Lake. Joy Chatterjee, who was carrying his sick uncle in an ICU ambulance to Sagar Dutta Medical College and Hospital, also got stuck at the jam for more than an hour near Mani Square mall.
Airline offices at the airport, too, were flooded with calls from panicked flyers, informing them about their delay because of the sudden closure of the flyover and the resultant traffic jam.
State urban development and municipal affairs minister and KMDA chairman Firhad Hakim said that some cracks were noticed on the piers of the flyover. “Consulting agencies are conducting health studies of several flyovers and during the study of Ultandanga flyover, they noticed some cracks on few of its piers. There is nothing to panic. Both the flanks will remain shut for the next three days as KMDA engineers will make a detailed analysis on Wednesday and Thursday. After that, we will throw open the flyover again in a few days,” Hakim said after a stock-taking meeting with KMDA authorities on Tuesday evening.
Hakim added that it was in 2010 that Mackintosh Burn had set up the flyover. “However, they are yet to give us any design of the flyover. We will send a letter to them on Wednesday, enquiring about the reason behind the cracks. All steps will be taken accordingly,” he said. KMDA officials said that the department engineers, along with bridge experts, would conduct inspections of the flyover on Wednesday.
A 40-metre steel span of the 1.29km long flyover, which was inaugurated on January 5, 2011, had collapsed after a truck hit the sidewalls in March 2013. The steel girder connecting piers 13 and 14 had crashed into Kestopur canal 25 feet below. Finally, the flyover underwent repairs and was reopened in September 2014.
KMDA sources said the consulting agency earlier engaged by them to conduct a health study of the flyover had submitted a preliminary report only a few days ago, mentioning that there are cracks on both sides of the retaining wall. “The agency is carrying out a study to find the extent of internal damage. As of now, the cracks will be repaired on an urgent basis,” said an official.

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