The UP government wants a regional version of IBMS system to take stock of all the bridges in the state, and then figure out what to do with them.
New Delhi: Tuesday’s collapse of an under-construction flyover in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi, which killed 18 people and injured 11 others, has put the spotlight on the state of bridges in Uttar Pradesh. And the findings are worrying – there are 226 dilapidated bridges on just the national highways running through the state.
So what are the authorities planning to do about these bridges? Not much, until they can take stock of all the bridges, flyovers, culverts, rail over-bridges and foot over-bridges in the state, ThePrint has learnt.
The IBMS project
The figure of 226 distressed bridges comes from official data compiled by the Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS) project, which falls under the ministry of road transport and highways.
Union roads minister Nitin Gadkari had launched IBMS in 2016. It maintains a database of bridges across the country and also takes inventory, including details like date of construction, location, lifespan and structural condition. As of now, IBMS maintains data of bridges located only on the national highways.
As per the data, UP is home to 152 bridges which are above 150 metres long, as well as 272 bridges measuring over 60 metres in length on just the national highways. The state also has a number of bridges of high socio-economic importance on these highways, such as those passing by Lucknow, Mirzapur, Allahabad, Kanpur Dehat and Jalaun.
The IBMS, however, doesn’t list any bridge in the state that is over 100 years old.
In terms of overall numbers across the country, the IBMS has an inventory of 1.73 lakh bridges, of which around 5,300 are structurally distressed and need attention. Twenty-three of these are over 100 years old.
What UP plans to do
UP Public Works Department sources say the administration has been in talks with the IBMS to adopt a regional version of the system, which could maintain an inventory of bridges on state highways as well as other district roads.
Sachin Joshi, team leader (research), IBMS, confirmed this, and said IBMS will soon be launching a regional version to be adopted by municipal corporations.
Joshi said Mumbai has around 350 bridges and Surat has 120 bridges, and adopting the regional or urban version of IBMS will help such cities which have a heavy concentration of bridges.
The move would be crucial, given that national highways comprise just 3 per cent of the total road network, but carry around 65 per cent of the total traffic on roads.
“However, the national highways are connected by some state highway or other district roads, and hence the move would be crucial,” Joshi said.
He, however, said that the IBMS or even its regional version does not take into account under-construction bridges at present.
“But if Bridge Information Model (BIM) is used during the construction of the bridge, it could be integrated with IBMS,” he said.