Seeking to enhance the safety and strength of the century-old Pamban rail bridge, India’s first cantilever bridge, the Southern Railway has decided to replace 43 more girders.
While 16 highly-corroded girders would be replaced by March next, 27 girders would be replaced during 2016-17, M. Suyambulingam, Southern Railway Chief Engineer (Bridges), said. As suggested by the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, which had conducted a study on the stability of the bridge in 2013, the Southern Railway had replaced 28 highly corroded girders and proposed to replace 43 more, the Chief Engineer, who was here on Saturday to inspect the bridge, said.
“The corroded girders will be replaced with metalised steel girders and the work will be completed before March next,” Mr. Suyambulingam told The Hindu . The Railway workshop in Arakkonam, which supplied the girders, had already made ready three new girders for replacement. In addition, five spans would be replaced by retrofitted steel girders brought from Ennore, he said. “After we replaced the corroded girders, Pamban rail bridge, which had turned 100 year in February last year, would almost have new spans,” he said.
G. Ramakrishnan, Managing Director of Hi-Tech Engineers, said that the company would take up the work on girders in the first week of December and complete it within the project period. The company would replace the 16 girders during the four-hour window made available to it between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. three days a week, without affecting the train services to the Rameswaram island very much, he said.