The Task Force on Quality Assurance in Public Construction has opined that although Kurikota bridge across the Bennethora on the national highway connecting Jewargi in Gulbarga district and Humnabad in Bidar district is in a bad shape, it can be repaired and strengthened.
B.R. Srinivasa Murthy, member of the task force and former faculty member of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore, member-secretary I. Ravindranath, Chief Engineer of the National Highways Jayaprakash, Executive Engineer Biradar, and Superintendent Engineer of the Public Works Department Shivashankar Gurgunte, who inspected the damaged portion of one of the arches of the century-old stone masonry bridge constructed during the Nizam’s rule , told The Hindu that the situation was “not that good”.
‘A difficult task’
Prof. Murthy, who has repaired and rehabilitated old bridges in different parts of the State, said the bridge appeared to be weak and could be strengthened; however, repair and rehabilitation of the bridge would be difficult.
Although it would take several months to permanently repair the bridge, Prof. Murthy said temporary repairs could be taken up by filling the yawning gap in the underside of the bridge in one of the arches and filling up the cracks that had developed in another arch.
The movement of light motor vehicles on the bridge could be allowed in a few weeks. The movement of heavy vehicles would be allowed only after the repair and rehabilitation of the bridge, which may take a few months, he said.
The expert said the method of repair and rehabilitation of the bridge, and whether there was a need to construct another bridge, would be decided only after conducting load-bearing tests on the bridge at the three arches that have not been damaged. The tests would be conducted shortly, using the latest equipment.
‘Scope for widening’
To a question, Prof. Murthy said the overall condition of the bridge was good, and there was scope for widening the narrow bridge to enable two-way movement of traffic with changes in the structural design. “We did this successfully a few years ago on a similar stone masonry bridge constructed in 1860 on the Magadi Road across the Pushpavathi, which has now been turned into a sewage line.” The abandoned bridge was later repaired and rehabilitated to allow the two-way movement of vehicles, to cope with the heavy traffic on the road.
“We have designs and technology to widen the narrow bridges, and this can be successfully implemented at Kurikota bridge also,” Prof. Murthy said.
Assistant Executive Engineer of the Public Works Department Vijaykumar Mulige, Assistant Executive Engineer of the National Highways Department Devidass Chavan and other officials accompanied the members of the task force.