Howrah Bridge has been maintained for 69 years

Howrah Bridge has been maintained for 69 years

How do you know the maintenance of Howrah Bridge? Let’s not know about the maintenance of this 69 year old cantilever Howrah Bridge. The present name of the old Howrah Bridge is Rabindra Setu. Its maintenance is the responsibility of the Calcutta Port Trust. An ‘Standard Operation Procedure’ (SOP) is followed for the maintenance of Howrah Bridge.

This bridge has 6 hangars. Basically its load is first transferred to the griders below the deck. From there the hangars transfer the weight of the various items to the overhead of the bridge.

Maintenance of this cantilever bridge is a big challenge. In addition to the vibrations caused by earthquakes or landslides, the expansion contraction caused by the temperature of construction materials also becomes a major obstacle to maintenance.

Every winter a team supervised by experienced engineers checks for rust or any defect marks in each joint.

Damage to the grid is possible if the rubber is damaged or if dust and dirt accumulates in the joints and rainwater accumulates, and the bearings below the deck are damaged. However, the safety of the bridge is not compromised with any of this, said an engineer.

If a rubber falls off for any reason, the joint is cleaned with a new rubber instead. This is done once a year.

Below the bridge is a trolley facing the water that moves from one end of the structure to the other. This structure spans one thousand five hundred feet. An official said a red flag was hoisted in case of any damage to the vehicle. If rust occurs, the damaged part is cleaned and a paint coating is applied to prevent further damage.

A specific unit is responsible for the maintenance of the structure above the bridge. The trained unit was given special training to find bird nests in the steel bar of the bridge, an official said.

They are deployed every week. They check to see if there are any defects or if there is any damage to the bridge.

The carrying capacity of British-built bridges was tested almost once every year and a half. In 2008-2009, the Port Trust Bridge built roads with much more durable and expensive mastic asphalt than the standard bitumen for vehicular traffic. It is seen that no major maintenance was required for the road in the next four years. Since then, only mastic asphalt has been used on the roads. It is also recommended to remove the old lining when building a new road on the bridge.

The bridge was last repainted in 2021. The 605 meter long and 30 meter wide Rabindra Bridge, built in 1938-1943, has been regularly maintained by the port authorities for 8 years. How
Experts are being consulted on how to maintain the right structure. The National Metallurgical Laboratory at Jamshedpur has reportedly recommended erosion of four pillars at a depth of 60 feet. A source said that help was also sought from IIT Madras.