It took seven years and Rs. 5 crore for a company to build a Foot Over Bridge (FOB) near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which then collapsed. The Indian Army, which was called in to salvage the Delhi's pride and build a temporary FOB, has done the same job in four days flat and at a fraction of the original cost.
The Indian Army is now applying finishing touches to a Bailey Bridge, after a desperate Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and the Delhi government called them in to erect the temporary structure. The Bailey bridge will be used by spectators to reach the stadium after parking their cars at Safdarjung Airport.
Army officials said that the main structure had been erected by Monday evening, with three piers of varying heights under 20-feet each fixed to support the bridge. Jawans were seen hard at work on the steps going down to the stadium, which technically is the only work remaining to be done. The steps from the parking lot to the bridge had been put in place on Monday. The 12-feet floor of the bridge has also been put in place.
Security personnel from the Delhi police and the Army were seen guarding the worksite. Traffic police had also been deployed to control the traffic on the elevated Barapullah Nullah road to allow the army to carry on with their work.
Over 700 combat engineers from The Madras Engineer Group, informally known as the Madras Sappers (a regiment of the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army) began work on the bridge on Saturday afternoon. The Indian Army and the Delhi government had said that the bridge, which has three piers and have four spans spread over 250 feet, was expected to be delivered in five days.
"We will conduct a mandatory security test before handing over the bridge.The only addition to a standard Bailey bridge is the insertion of three piers, which we did for safety," Commanding Officer, Colonel Dinesh Khanna told rediff.com
The Bailey bridge is being built at the exact spot where its collapsed predecessor stood. The concrete pillars on either side of Barapullah Nallah road were not damaged when the earlier bridge collapsed and the Bailey bridge will use these pillars as its base, Khanna said.
A Bailey bridge is a temporary military structure used for relief operations like flood or collapsed bridges. All its components are made of metal and are portable. The newly constructed Bailey bridge will be able to accommodate more people than what was estimated of the collapsed bridge, Khanna said.
"The floor of the bridge is about 12-feet wide and can even accommodate vehicles. It will be able to take the weight of more spectators than the current estimates," Khanna added.
The decision to erect the temporary structure was taken after security agencies told civic agencies that the walking route from the parking to the stadium without the bridge would be about a kilometer long.
The 95 metre-long hanging foot-over bridge had collapsed on September 21, injuring 27 people. The bridge was being built along with another over bridge at the cost of Rs 10.5 crore by Chandigarh-based company PNR Infra, which has been blacklisted by the Delhi government.