Iconic Howrah Bridge to undergo in-depth health checkup, IIT Madras team to be engaged
KOLKATA — The 80-year-old iconic Howrah Bridge, which connects the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata over the Hooghly river, will undergo a detailed health checkup after a gap of 11 years, said a top official of Kolkata port that maintains the structure.
The comprehensive health checkup of the cantilever bridge will be done in consultation with IIT Madras, Kolkata port chairman Rathendra Raman said.
The proposed exercise will be taken up in addition to the routine maintenance of the bridge, he said.
“We have decided to conduct an in-depth study on the health of the Howrah Bridge, which hasn’t been done for over a decade. This study will provide us with valuable insights on how to improve the bridge’s lifespan,” Raman said on Wednesday.
A comprehensive health checkup of the bridge was previously conducted 11 years ago, with the expertise of RITES, another official said.
The Howrah Bridge, also known as Rabindra Setu, with 405 metres in length and 21.6 metres in width, is considered a symbol of Kolkata since its inauguration in 1943.
The bridge was taken up for construction after a commission under the chairmanship of Sir R N Mukherjee in 1926 recommended a suspension bridge of a particular type to be built across the Hooghly river.
The port authorities had already started working to scrap the bituminous road surface on the 80-year-old structure and a new layer would be laid to reduce the bridge’s load.
The National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways & Coasts (NTCPWC), a division of IIT Madras, will advise the authorities for the comprehensive study, the port chairman said.
Raman stated that if necessary, another expert consultant would be appointed to assist the port authorities in the initiative.
Every day, the Howrah Bridge facilitates the passage of approximately 80,000 vehicles and 400,000 pedestrians, becoming an integral part of their daily lives.
Recognising the bridge’s immense importance, the Kolkata port, now known as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, aims at securing its future and preserving the technological marvel, another senior official said.
The scope of the study is yet to be finalised but experts would closely examine issues such as corrosion and fatigue that the bridge had been facing, he said.
“The goal is to identify effective strategies to address these challenges and to ensure the longevity of the bridge,” the official added.