No additional time for contractor to finish Sohna elevated road project, says probe panel

The contractor of the Sohna elevated road will not get any additional time for completing the project on account of delay due to collapse of a span between two piers last Saturday night, said members of a high-level panel probing the flyover mishap.

Additionally, the contractor will have to bear the cost for removing debris from the damaged structure, apart from taking additional measures to boost safety and security at the construction site, officials probing the incident stated.

“The committee has decided that there will be no extension of the deadline and the contractor will have to bear the cost of damage. To find out the reason for the collapse, we have sought documents, the standard operating procedures in place, and have also ordered a test to check the quality and strength of concrete being used in the construction,” said VL Patankar, ex-director general, RD, ministry of road transport and highways, and the head of the four-member technical committee.

The 21.66km-long Sohna elevated road project has two parts. The first part constitutes an underpass, and an elevated road running from Subash Chowk to a point beyond Badshahpur. The second part comprises the expansion of a 12.72km road from Badshahpur to Sohna. This part involves the construction of flyovers and underpasses at some of the major crossings of the stretch to ensure smooth movement of vehicles. The cost of the entire project is around ₹1,300 crore.

The NHAI on Tuesday had temporarily suspended work on the entire project and had asked the contractor, Oriental Engineering Works Pvt. Ltd, to take adequate safety measures.

A high-level technical committee, constituted by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), is looking into the reasons that led to the collapse of a span between pier 10 and pier 11 of the elevated road, opposite Vipul Greens condominium on Sohna Road.

On Thursday afternoon, three members of the technical committee, along with senior officials of the NHAI, inspected the collapsed span of the structure and the casting yard of the contractor, where these spans are made.

The team also issued directions to the contractor to gather all the samples of the concrete as per SOPs and seal them properly for conducting chemical and strength tests at a private laboratory. The committee members also spoke to officials of Oriental Engineering regarding the sequence in which the span was mounted, the day when stressing took place, and time when launcher was moved from the spot.

AK Srivastav, advisor, NHAI and member of the committee, asked the contractor to barricade the entire area between pier 10 and 11, support the damaged structure with sandbags, and cover it before removing the damaged portion. He also directed that the entire process of removing the damaged portion should be videographed.

The technical team also sought copies of the SOPs used for mounting the span that has been approved by NHAI officials and an independent engineer/consultant. Another member of the team also sought details about the last activity that took place at the span on August 22 — the day on which the collapse took place.

Ashok Sharma, project director, NHAI, who accompanied the team, said that, apart from testing, the contractor has been asked to barricade the entire site. “The team conducted the site inspection and has issued directions with regard to testing and other steps to be taken while dismantling the damaged structure,” he said.

A senior official of Oriental Engineering said that they have started work of supporting the structure with bag filling. A large number of workers have been engaged in the process, while the entire site being barricaded. “Two officials involved with quality control and structure have also been removed after the incident. We have also increased the number of traffic marshals to ensure the safety of the commuters and workers,” he said.

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