Inaugurated last year, the eight-lane flyover is already showing signs of structural instability. Here’s why...
The 1.4-km-long Hero Honda Chowk flyover is already showing signs of structural instability. A pothole, measuring 2x2 ft, was discovered on one of its carriageways on Monday morning, and large cracks were found at the base of the structure.
Thankfully, no accidents were reported.
The Hero Honda Chowk flyover was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in July last year. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 200 crore.
Officials from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were alerted to the existence of the pothole and cracks by commuters at 7 am on Monday. They informed officials at the Kherki Daula toll plaza and traffic police personnel.
By 7.30 am, necessary diversions had been placed at the flyover to ensure commuters avoided the area as repair work commenced on the pothole.
The task was completed by late afternoon, and the gap in the carriageway filled with bitumen. In addition, the bucket of an earthmover was placed on top, and traffic cones positioned around the area to create diversions.
NHAI officials will now undertake tests to assess the structural stability of the flyover, hence commuters travelling from Manesar towards New Delhi for the next seven days will not be able to avail the stretch.
“The cracks have been repaired but the entire carriageway will be opened to traffic after testing, which is expected to take seven days,” Ashok Sharma, general manager (technical) of NHAI, confirmed.
Until Tuesday evening, workers continued to carry out repair work on the cracks by placing scaffolding framework to balance the structure.
The incident has left experts in grave doubt.
“Cracks and potholes indicate that there is a clear structure failure, which has led to several tragic events in the country,” Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning, school of planning and architecture, New Delhi, explained.
“Authorities need to examine all portions of the flyover piece by piece and break the cracked parts and replace it with new materials for greater stability. For the interim, they should ensure that heavy vehicles do not access the flyover as their weight can lead to further cracks,” he added.
Sarika Panda Bhatt, manager, cities and transport, World Resources Institute (WRI), India, added, “As per 2016 data, around 1.5 per cent of total road traffic fatalities in India are due to potholes. Two-wheelers are the most impacted vehicles due to potholes. However, we still don’t scientifically investigate the road traffic crashes and, therefore, it is still premature to point out the real figures around road traffic deaths due to potholes or road design and maintenance.”