Using stainless steel in structural skeleton for overbridge could have avoided losses during recent accident in Mumbai
Collapse in the railways infrastructure is leading to significant disruptions and economic losses. The tragic pedestrian bridge collapse at the Andheri station, barely nine months after the railway bridge stampede causing 23 deaths at Elphinstone Road in Mumbai, could have been avoided by adopting stainless steel for creating such long term social infrastructure, especially foot-over bridges and overbridges. Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA), the country’s apex stainless steel body, has reiterated importance of using stainless steel for social infrastructures like bridges, railway lines, etc, to drastically minimise loss of life and finances.
“Considering 50 per cent of the Indian Railway bridges, out of 120,000 across India, are over 100 years old, it is the need of the hour to deploy the best suited material – Stainless Steel, to reduce casualties up to a great extent.
Moreover, stainless steel has twice the life cycle compared to carbon steel,” said KK Pahuja, President ISSDA. Overall costing for the life-cycle of stainless steel is significantly lower. India has a large coast line and structures along the coastline cities are suffering due to corrosion, resulting not only in losses due to frequent maintenance and replacements but also disruption in daily public life. Stainless steel in structural elements is critical in coastal areas like Mumbai which are prone to high corrosion. Today, stainless steel structurals such as angles, sections, nuts and bolts, anchors, reinforcement bars are easily available, suiting to applications requiring long life in corrosive environments.
Stainless steel is known for its inherent quality of strength, resistance against fractures, weldability and a very good resistance against corrosion. The weight of the structure is reduced tremendously, thereby reducing the cost of the substructure and foundations and overall reduced life-cycle costs. Its introduction in Indian railways will be a very good decision for the upgradation of the present technology of design, fabrication and maintenance of steel bridges. Besides, stainless steel is completely recyclable and therefore, environment-friendly.
In India, a substantial amount of downtime and cost is incurred on account of carrying out maintenance activities on old bridges. Not only does it cause inconvenience to users, it also results in significant outflow of money on account of repair, maintenance and labour related expenses.