Rail-cum-road bridge in AP gets much-needed maintenance during lockdown

East Godavari: The rail-cum-road bridge over the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district undergoes maintenance work during the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown imposed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, on May 21, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Hyderabad, May 21 (IANS) Taking advantage of the regulated passenger train services during the extended lockdown, the South Central Railway completed comprehensive track maintenance work on the iconic second Rail-cum-Road Bridge across the Godavari river near Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.

According to SCR official statement, track maintenance work on the 3-km bridge was undertaken for the first time in 43 years, after it was commissioned in 1977. The work was executed in a mega block of 36 hours during which all train movement on the bridge was stopped, enabling the task.

The work had been pending for want of such long block to train services given the fact that the bridge is critical to the South-East Rail link of India, bridging the two sides of the mighty Godavari on the Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam Railway Section of the Zone. Safety, while undertaking the works, was another major concern.

SCR officials said the work presented huge challenges on account of the technical aspects associated with the engineering of the bridge, which handles rail traffic on the lower deck and road traffic on the upper deck.

Moreover, working space on the bridge for the rail personnel involved in the job was insufficient, requiring them to make adjustments and accommodate co-workers in completing the task.

The Rail-cum-Road Bridge with 34 spans, including 28 spans with steel girder and 6 spans with PSC deck slabs, and spanning across the Godavari, is the 3rd longest rail-cum-road structure in India, next only to the Digha-Sonpur bridge across the Ganga near Patna and Bogibeel bridge across the Brahmaputra in Assam.

Built by the Braithwaite, Burn & Jessop Construction Company, the rail-cum-road bridge streamlined train movement on the vital Chennai-Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam-Howrah sector, which was earlier catered by the first Godavari bridge, more popularly known as the Sir Havelock Bridge, now a heritage structure.

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