The Centre is now looking at replacing railings on all existing bridges with crash barriers, one of the key learnings from the fatal accident of industrialist Cyrus Mistry in September when his car had crashed on a bridge.
Mistry’s car had crashed on the parapet wall of a bridge on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway in Palghar, causing his death and that of his friend Jehangir Pandole, who was the global strategy head of KPMG in London.
Among the reasons for the fatal accident were over-speeding, the rear seat passengers not wearing seat-belts and the absence of a crash barrier on the parapet wall on the bridge that may have mitigated the impact of the accident. Another reason cited for the accident was the bridge parapet wall found to be protruding into the shoulder lane. This was a two-lane bridge called the Surya River Charoti bridge.
The Roads and Highways Ministry on December 14 issued a circular to all states and senior NHAI officials on the need to replace the railings on existing bridges with crash barriers. “It is seen that in existing bridges retained without widening, existing railing is usually not replaced by crash barrier. The provision of crash barrier is essentially required for safety of vehicular traffic but there is apprehension about structural suitability of replacing railing of existing bridges without widening. The matter has been carefully examined in the ministry,” the latest circular says.
The circular mentions new decisions like the vertical reinforcement of crash barrier on its traffic face to be connected to kerb reinforcement, adequacy of the same to be checked with respect to design loads and quality of concrete in deck slab to be ascertained by non-destructive testing before replacing railing with crash barrier.
“Crash barrier is to be provided on all new bridges with or without footpath at the edge of the carriageway. As per two-laning manual, wherever the existing bridges are to be retained with or without widening, crash barrier in the inside and pedestrian railings on outer side of the footpath shall be provided. In the four-laning manual, it is specified that the railing of existing bridges shall be with crash barrier,” the latest circular adds.
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