A two-day international seminar on “Pre Engineered and Quick Launch Bridges” began here today. It is being organised by the Indian Institute of Bridge Engineers, Delhi State Centre in conjunction with Border Roads Organisation (BRO). The Seminar brings together Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, the Railways, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Indian Army (Corps of Engineers) on a common platform to speed up construction of bridges. Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Dr. C. P. Joshi was the Chief Guest at the inauguration of the seminar. Speaking on the Occasion, Dr.C.P.Joshi said that as India leaps towards development, improved and efficient infrastructure is going to play a pivotal role and it is crucial that India develops better connectivity solutions to meet her aspirations as a nation.These solutions can be best devised when top minds in the field of construction techniques from across the world come together, he added. Referring to the Indian road network, The Minister said that it consists of around one lakh bridges. Out of these, around 15,000 bridges are on National Highways. Some of these fall in difficult terrain where accessibility and soil conditions are a major concern. It’s here that the technique of building bridges using prefabricated and pre engineered structures comes to aid. Dr. Joshi pointed out that the innovative technique allowing for building large number of components in short span of time at low cost is fast picking up across the world and in countries like the United States of America, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium this technique of building bridges is widely used, he added. The minister said that there are challenging ground conditions in places like Uttrakhand, state of Jammu & Kashmir or the North Eastern part of India, which are prone to landslides and have difficult terrain. In these areas, the pre engineered and quick launch bridges can be of big help especially during crisis situations. Dr. Joshi said focus should also be given to using modern techniques for the improvement of conventional bridges that make up the majority of the bridges in the country. The Minister hoped that this seminar will throw up new ideas that will lead to devising connectivity solutions that have been hampering growth in far flung regions of the country.
In his speech, Chairman, Railway Board Shri. Vinay Mittal said that there is vital importance of bridges to the Indian Railways which has a network of more than 64000 RKMs, a distance that is traversed over 1,33,000 bridges. He pointed out that engineers on Railways have also come out with several engineering marvels while linking tracks and in building bridges. On Indian Railways there are bridges over small drains, sea-creeks, over mighty rivers like the Ganges and Brahmaputra and over challenging alignments passing through high mountains, deep valleys and unpredictable rivers, particularly in the North-East region and in the J&K. The Chenab bridge, being built on the Udhampur-Baramulla project is an engineering marvel, being the highest bridge in the world. Referring to Railways plan to eliminate level crossings in a time bound manner, Shri. Mittal that Pre-engineered bridge material would be of immense help in making Road Over Bridges and Road Under Bridges to facilitate grade separation on a fast track mode. Director General, Border Road Organisation Lt. General S. Ravi Shankar, PVSM, VSM in his address emphasized the importance of Bailey bridges technique which could be launched in a very short span using limited manpower. He said that this technique have been used successfully and effectively by BRO and Army in emergency situations over the years. Shri Ravi Shankar said that there is need to look into 2nd generation of this technology to keep pace with the changing needs. Chairman, Indian Insitiutes of Bridge Engineers Lt Gen (Retd), Shri. A.K.Puri, PVSM, AVSM, in his welcome address talked of essentiality of quick launch bridges. He emphaised on its importance specially in the context of far flung areas and North Eastern states. Professor Mahesh Tandon, Chairman Scientific committee outlined the objectives and scope of the seminar. Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Dr. C.P. Joshi released a souvenier on the occasion. The two days seminar will provide a platform where designers, contractors and architects will interact and exchange ideas for more robust engineering solutions for roads, highways and rail bridges. The benefits of large scale manufacture away from sites and the fabrication of structure in controlled environments will definitely go a long way to reduce costs while ensuring faster construction and guaranteed quality. The seminar is addressing faster methods of constructing bridges, which has remained a bottleneck in completing roads, and will help organisations such as Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), NHAI, BRO & State Public Works Division (PWD) speed up bridging as the number of roads with temporary bridges or causeways where permanent bridges should have been there, is on the increase. BRO itself has a backlog of 35 Km of bridges and an equal amount in its order book for the roads under construction in the next 5 years. The interaction amongst the members in the seminar will assist the bridge engineering fraternity to speed up connectivity to far flung areas. This need is true for other areas too. The speakers at the seminar amongst other include eminent personalities like Shri AK Upadhyay, Secretary, Road Transport & Highways; Shri A. P. Mishra, Member, Engineering Railway Board; Lt Gen Vijai Sharma, AVSM, Engineer – In – Chief; Shri C Kandaswamy, DG, Road Transport & Highways.