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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Howrah Bridge does not have nuts and bolts:


Howrah Bridge does not have nuts and bolts:

The bridge does not have nuts and bolts, but was formed by riveting the whole structure. It consumed 26,500 tons of steel, out of which 23,000 tons of high-tensile alloy steel, known as Tiscrom, were supplied by Tata Steel.

Howrah Bridge is a cantilever bridge with a suspended span over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India. Commissioned in 1943,the bridge was originally named the New Howrah Bridge, because it replaced a pontoon bridge at the same location linking the two cities of Howrah and Kolkata (Calcutta). On 14 June 1965 it was renamed Rabindra Setu after the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, who was the first Indian and Asian Nobel laureate. It is still popularly known as the Howrah Bridge.

The initial construction process of the bridge was stalled due to the World War I, although the bridge was partially renewed in 1917 and 1927. In 1921 a committee of engineers named the 'Mukherjee Committee' was formed, headed by Sir R.N. Mukherjee, Sir Clement Hindley, Chairman of Calcutta Port Trust and J. McGlashan, Chief Engineer. They referred the matter to Sir Basil Mott, who proposed a single span arch bridge.

In 1922 the New Howrah Bridge Commission was set up, to which the Mukherjee Committee submitted its report. In 1926 the New Howrah Bridge Act passed. In 1930 the Goode Committee was formed, comprising S.W. Goode as President, S.N. Mallick, and W.H. Thompson, to investigate and report on the advisability of constructing a pier bridge between Calcutta and Howrah. Based on their recommendation, M/s. Rendel, Palmer and Tritton were asked to consider the construction of a suspension bridge of a particular design prepared by their chief draftsman Mr. Walton. On basis of the report, a global tender was floated. The lowest bid came from a German company, but due to increasing political tensions between Germany and Great Britain in 1935, it was not given the contract.[7] The Braithwaite Burn and Jessop Construction Company Limited was awarded the construction contract that year. The New Howrah Bridge Act was amended in 1935 to reflect this, and construction of the bridge started the next year.

The bridge does not have nuts and bolts, but was formed by riveting the whole structure. It consumed 26,500 tons of steel, out of which 23,000 tons of high-tensile alloy steel, known as Tiscrom, were supplied by Tata Steel. The main tower was constructed with single monolith caissons of dimensions 55.31 x 24.8 m with 21 shafts, each 6.25 metre square. The Chief Engineer of the Port Trust, Mr. J. McGlashan, wanted to replace the pontoon bridge, with a permanent structure, as the present bridge interfered with North/South river traffic. Work could not be started as World War I (1914-1918) broke out. Then in 1926 a commission under the Chairmanship of Sir R. N. Mukherjee recommended a suspension bridge of a particular type to be built across the River Hoogly. The bridge was designed by one Mr.Walton of M/s Rendel, Palmer & Triton. The order for construction and erection was placed on M/s.Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company in 1939. Again World War II (1939-1945 ) intervened. All the steel that was to come from England were diverted for war effort in Europe. Out of 26,000 tons of steel, that was required for the bridge, only 3000 tons were supplied from England. In spite of the Japanese threat the then ( British ) Government of India pressed on with the construction. Tata Steel were asked to supply the remaining 23,000 tons of high tension steel. The Tatas developed the quality of steel required for the bridge and called it Tiscom. The entire 23,000 tons was supplied in time. The fabrication and erection work was awarded to a local engineering firm of Howrah - The Braithwaite Burn & Jessop Construction Company. The two anchorage caissons were each 16.4 m by 8.2 m, with two wells 4.9 m square. The caissons were so designed that the working chambers within the shafts could be temporarily enclosed by steel diaphragms to allow work under compressed air if required. The caisson at Kolkata side was set at 31.41 m and that at Howrah side at 26.53 m below ground level.

One night, during the process of grabbing out the muck to enable the caisson to move, the ground below it yielded, and the entire mass plunged two feet, shaking the ground. The impact of this was so intense that the seismograph at Kidderpore registered it as an earthquake and a Hindu temple on the shore was destroyed, although it was subsequently rebuilt. While muck was being cleared, numerous varieties of objects were brought up, including anchors, grappling irons, cannons, cannonballs, brass vessels, and coins dating back to the East India Company. The job of sinking the caissons was carried out round-the-clock at a rate of a foot or more per day. The caissons were sunk through soft river deposits to a stiff yellow clay 26.5 m below ground level. The accuracy of sinking the huge caissons was exceptionally precise, within 50–75 mm of the true position. After penetrating 2.1 m into clay, all shafts were plugged with concrete after individual dewatering, with some 5 m of backfilling in adjacent shafts. The main piers on the Howrah side were sunk by open wheel dredging, while those on the Kolkata side required compressed air to counter running sand. The air pressure maintained was about 40 lbs per square inch (2.8 bar), which required about 500 workers to be employed. Whenever excessively soft soil was encountered, the shafts symmetrical to the caisson axes were left unexcavated to allow strict control. In very stiff clays, a large number of the internal wells were completely undercut, allowing the whole weight of the caisson to be carried by the outside skin friction and the bearing under the external wall. Skin friction on the outside of the monolith walls was estimated at 29 kN/m2 while loads on the cutting edge in clay overlying the founding stratum reached 100 tonnes/m. The work on the foundation was completed on November 1938.

By the end of 1940, the erection of the cantilevered arms was commenced and was completed in mid-summer of 1941. The two halves of the suspended span, each 282 feet (86 m) long and weighing 2,000 tons, were built in December 1941. The bridge was erected by commencing at the two anchor spans and advancing towards the center, with the use of creeper cranes moving along the upper chord. 16 hydraulic jacks, each of which had an 800-ton capacity, were pressed into service to join the two halves of the suspended span.

The entire project cost ₹25 million (£2,463,887). The project was a pioneer in bridge construction, particularly in India, but the government did not have a formal opening of the bridge due to fears of attacks by Japanese planes fighting the Allied Powers. Japan had attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The first vehicle to use the bridge was a solitary tram.

Some interesting facts about Howrah bridge

1. Howrah Bridge is a cantilever bridge that spans over the Hooghly River in West Bengal. A cantilever bridge is the one built using cantilevers, structures that project horizontally into space, supported on only one end.

2. The bridge does not have nuts and bolts and was built by riveting the whole structure.

3. On June 14th, 1965, the bridge was renamed Rabindra Setu after the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. However, it is still popularly known as Howrah Bridge.

4. It carries a daily traffic of approximately 100,000 vehicles and possibly more than 150,000 pedestrians, making it one of the busiest cantilever bridges in the world.

5. At the time of its construction, it was the 3rd longest cantilever bridge. Now, it’s the sixth longest bridge of its type in the world!

6. The first vehicle to use the bridge was a solitary tram.

7. Bird droppings and human spitting cause corrosion to the bridge. The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT ) engaged contractors to regularly clean the bird droppings, at an annual expense of Rs. 500000. The KoPT also spent Rs. 6.5 million to paint the entire bridge, which required a total of 26,500 litres of paint.

8. 26,500 tons of steel was consumed in the construction of Howrah Bridge, out of which 23,000 tons of high-tensile alloy steel, known as Tiscrom, was supplied by Tata Steel.

9. It has featured in numerous movies, Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tamil, etc. Few movies shot here are Gunday, Barfi!, Love Aaj Kal, Tamil film Aadhavan, Malayalam Film Calcutta News, Roland Joffé’s English language film City of Joy and the list goes on…

Source Wikipedia