Safety Audit of Old Bridges

This has reference to the editorial ‘Safety Audit of Bridges’ (DE,Nov24,2019).The decision of the Lieutenant Governor Girish Chander Murmu for directing the concerned authorities for conducting immediate safety audit and full checking of all the bridges constructed in the Union Territory of Jammu &Kashmir is more than welcome.There is no doubt that everything constructed is prone to decay in the due course of time and bridges are no exception.Moreover,if the material used in the construction of bridges is of inferior or substandard quality,it is subject to safety hazards.So it is mandatory that a safety audit of all the old bridges is conducted and remedial action including necessary repairs conducted so that the life of the commuters and pedestrians is not put at stake.Therefore, the periodic inspection of the bridges to ensure their safety and long life as also their proper maintenance and upkeep is what must be undertaken after regular periods of time.Similarly,it must be ensured that no substandard material is used at the time of the construction/repair of the bridge and all the parameters of construction are adhered to and in case of any negligence,the concerned officers must be brought to book.In many areas,there are reports of protests against the concerned authorities for not taking care of damaged old bridges and this decision of the government will redress their grievance to a great deal.There is also need for identifying such areas where there is no road connectivity and where people /students have often to cross flooded streams/nallahs putting their life at stake and then construction of foot bridges/suspension bridges so that people can cross the streams,especially during rainy season in a safe manner. At the same time,there is also need to ensure quality while constructing and blacktopping roads so that smooth flow of traffic is ensured and the commuters have a comfortable journey.
Ashok Sharma,
Housing Colony