Rail overbridge in Ludhiana develops cracks a week after it opens

Ludhiana The railway overbridge connecting Sherpur Chowk with Oswal Cancer Hospital Chowk on National Highway 44 (previously known as NH-I) has developed cracks barely a week after its inauguration.

Confirming that cracks had appeared close to the retaining walls of the bridge, Yogesh Chandra, project director NH-44, said the construction company was carrying out repairs and had been asked to explain the damage.

The cracks were spotted on Sunday morning by commuters and the traffic police diverted vehicles from the spot to prevent further damage.Construction workers reached the spot to start repairs after national highway authorities were informed.

One of the men working at the site who did not wish to be named said the cracks could have been caused by seepage leading to soil erosion of reinforced earth retaining wall.

Deputy commissioner Pradeep Agrawal had inaugurated the flyover on May 25.

The three flyover projects in the city – Basti Jodhewal, Sherpur Chowk and the one near Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer hospital – took over 10 years to be completed.

Work on the railway overbridge, which commenced in September 9, 2009, and was to be completed by November, 2011, halted in 2010 due to design issues between the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the construction company. It restarted last year after Congress leaders, including member of Parliament (MP) Ravneet Singh Bittu, cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, mayor Balkar Sandhu, members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) Sanjay Talwar, Surinder Dawar and others staged a two-day protest at the Laddowal toll plaza in March, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The projects were to be completed by March 31, 2020, but work was delayed due to the nationwide lockdown. The Basti Jodhewal bridge was opened for traffic in November last year, while both sides of Sherpur Chowk and Cancer Hospital flyover were opened this month.

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