With a four-level transportation corridor, Nagpur has set an example for administration running cities with space crunch. The unique multi-level transportation network will be seen for the first time in the country, say officials.
An existing vehicular and pedestrian underpass forms the corridor’s bottom-most level, above which runs a railway line. The top-most part of the corridor has a Metro line, under which is a national highway. This will be the part of Asia’s longest double-decker viaduct spanning 5.3 km.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor on December 11. At the event, the remaining routes of Nagpur Metro Phase-1—routes from Kasturchand Park to Automotive Square (Line-1) and Jhansi Rani Square to Prajapati Nagar (Line-2)— will be thrown open to the public.
“This is what needs to be done in all cities with space crunch, including Mumbai. It is rare. In Mumbai, we have a three-level transportation corridor at Currey Road. There are multi-level flyovers abroad, but I know nothing like this. In London, there are three-level underground tube stations,” said A V Shenoy, senior transport expert with Mumbai Mobility Forum and Mumbai Vikas Samiti.
“If MMRDA had gone ahead with the original proposal of road-cum-railway bridge on Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, then we would have had the harbour line, Eastern Freeway, MTHL road and railway. However, it spoils the skyline, and the road below has no sunlight and ventilation. Yesterday, I observed the situation under DN Nagar and Azad Nagar Metro stations. There is total darkness even during the day and sound pollution due to horns,” Shenoy added.
Jitendra Gupta of Citizen Transport Committee, however, believes it is “old wine in a new bottle”. He said, “The Nagpur corridor is nothing new. The British had already built one such bridge in Delhi over Yamuna river, joining the main city with Jamuna paar (Gandhi Nagar and Shahdara).”
“If the city and the transport infrastructure are planned well, all this may not be required. Flyovers never solve any problem. Look at our own Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), for example. We need planning based on common sense,” said city architect and transport expert Jagdeep Desai.
How was it done?
Railway officials said that it was a very complex operation and a first in India. Afcons Infrastructure Limited erected the 80-metre double-decker steel span, weighing 1,650 MT, in a record time of two months. The steel superstructure was placed over the Gaddigodam Railway Crossing, with a traffic of over 150 trains and 1 lakh vehicles. Launching of the gigantic 18.9-metre-wide girder is probably a first in Indian Railways.
Explaining the complexity, Afcons’s project manager Arun Kumar said, “The double-decker open web girder, which was created with 8,000 structural elements, was placed over the busy Gaddigodam Railway Crossing last winter. All the activities were done in extremely tight railway block hours, given how busy this route is. The span stands at a height of 28 metre above ground. Such a critical and complex task has never been attempted before in India.”
Besides, two adjacent composite girders with reinforced concrete deck slab, each of 25-metre span, had to be completed. During the preparatory stage, the team manoeuvred the project’s technical complexity amid space constraints at site, severe winter, unseasonal rains, the pandemic as well as a tight deadline. A crack team was formed which innovatively completed the task within two months, adhering to all quality and safety standards, said officials. Several records were also created in the short period, they added.
“We really had to dig deep into our reserves. All forces collaborated to make this once-in-a-lifetime challenge a success. Apart from our colleagues at the site and head office, we also enlisted expert support from our Chenab Railway Bridge Project to critically review our preparedness. Manpower and machines were mobilised at an unprecedented pace,” recalled Project Controller Amarsinh Raut.
Four 250-500T cranes, one super lift arrangement, 22-torque wrench machines were deployed and special lowering arrangements were made for the entire operation.
Phase-1 of Nagpur Metro comprises a 39-km elevated corridor. Afcons has constructed 17.1 km of the line, which is almost 44 per cent of the total viaduct length and around 51 per cent of overall civil works. Besides the longest double-decker viaduct, Afcons has also constructed eight stations in Reach-2 and Reach-1, and two depots. The Sitabuldi Interchange Station, constructed by Afcons, is the highest Metro interchange station in India.
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