A bridge is a marvel of engineering, representing mankind’s victory over the topological challenges of the region. Every bridge has a story profoundly vested in the history of the region. Be it for war, peace or for just being able to easily commute from one place to another, every bridge symbolises mankind’s advancements in technology of the era. Why then, should such assets not garner the attention they deserve?
Historically, India boasts of some of the oldest bridges in the world. However, due to a lack of proper records, information is only available in 30 percent of all existing bridges in India. A system to record, monitor and maintain these great assets is the need of the hour. This is the premise of the Indian Bridge Management System. A system built to maintain records on and monitor every bridge in the country; developed by Asset Management Technologies, the research wing of IDDC Engineers Pvt. Ltd.
Recently, the 1st Biennial Conference on IBMS, hosted by Asset Management Technologies was organised at the NDMC Convention Centre in Delhi. Shri. Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, inaugurated the event and launched the Indian Bridge Management System.
This highly anticipated programme was conducted to ‘bridge’ together the Academia, Public Sector, Non-Government Organizations and Private Sectors on various aspects related to the repair, rehabilitation, retrofitting or replacement of Indian bridges.
The conference began with an inaugural speech by Shri. Sachin Joshi, Director & TL Indian Bridge Management System. In his speech, he iterated the lack of ‘basic data’ on bridges in the country. He said, “Information on existing bridges would not only help us maintain these assets, but also provide guidelines for upcoming projects.” The keynoteaddress was followed by the felicitationof all participating agencies, IITD the knowledge partner, and the media who have worked to make IBMS the largest single owner database in the world. Currently, the IBMS database hosts information of over 1,15,000 bridges and culverts, pan India.
Following the felicitation, Director General& Special Secretary, Shri. S.N. Das took to the stage to give the audience his views on IBMS. In his speech, he mentioned the following: IBMS was established in 2015 by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, consultants were hired for conducting condition surveys on the bridges, mobile bridge inspection units were set up to enable faster collection of data, and all these data are being fed into the IBMS system.
The Bridge Management System
The Indian Bridge Management System was conceptualised by Shri. Sachin Joshi & Shri. Sitaram Sagi Raju. It is being implemented through the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH). The system aims to maintain records and data of bridges and culverts on all highways all over India.
The Indian Bridge Management System works by giving each bridge a unique identity number. This number is generated based on; the State/region in which the bridge is in, it’s estimated location, and the bridge’s engineering properties such as; material, age, design, etc. The approximate longitudinal and latitudinal details are obtained via GPS by units at the site.
A structural rating; using various non-destructive testing methods, and the socio-economic impact rating is also carried out for each bridge, and this data is also fed into the system in real-time. The structural rating, based on various parameters, indicate the condition of the bridge. IBMS has assigned a rating from 0 to 9 to indicate this condition. 0 and 1 indicate bridge is closed or needs to be closed. Similarly, 2 to 9 indicates other grades, given by certified engineers. This helps create an action report for bodies concerned to prioritise repairs and rehabilitation work.
Excerpts of Shri. Nitin Gadkari Address
In the Minister’s address to the delegates, Shri. Gadkari expressed his concerns about the lack of any database on bridges. He said, “The lack of any substantial database on bridges in India has led to a situation wherein maintaining them properly is becoming increasingly difficult.” Innovative, ‘out of the box’ thinking along with material segmentation is the need of the hour he further expressed.
On innovation and experimentation, the Minister encouraged the delegates citing the groundbreaking strides achieved in precast. He also added that creating awareness amongst students from IITs and students from the civil disciplines through training programmes is quintessential to the sustained improvement and development of infrastructure.
An important and vital point raised by Shri. Gadkari was the construction of ‘railway overbridges’. High GDP losses due to railway overbridge truck standing are hampering the economy according to him. He cited the example of Rajasthan and Maharashtra, who already took the initiative in this regard by submitting more than 300 over- bridge proposal.
From a government point of view, Shri. Gadkari assured the full support from the government of India stating that an amount of about ` 30,000 crores has been sanctioned for bridge repair activities. He further mentioned that all efforts to draft better taxation laws will be explored.
The IBMS Conference
Following Shri. Nitin Gadkari’s address, Shri. Sachin Joshi demonstrated the IBMS module on a tablet to the Minister. The Minister then proceeded to announce the system to the audience and IBMS was launched.
With the inauguration and launch completed, IBMS 2016 kick started the technical sessions with an excellent presentation on “The Economic Impacts of IBMS” by V.L. Patankar. The paper was part of the 1st session, aimed at giving the delegates an understanding of the impact the IBM System would have. Patankar’s presentation was followed up with presentations by Alok Pandey and Kamlesh Kumar.
The rest of the day belonged to the second session which aimed to throw light on the processes involved with Bridge Management. Ms. Saparv Bhatacharya, Sachin Abyankar, Alok Bhomick and Sitaram Sagi Raju took to the podium to enrich the delegates with the BMS process. With delegates hailing from different sections of the government, the interactive session possed to be a tricky one, with government officials raring to have their doubts and ideas solved and shared.
The second day of the conference spanned out through four sessions viz; Non-Destructive / Experimental testing of Bridges, Retrofitting, Innovative Technologies and Modeling, and a panel discussion. Renowned speakers such as Shri. Samir Surlaker, Director IITD, Shri. Chetan Raikar, Dr. Rao Tatavarti presented topics ranging from Chemicals for Retrofitting to Photonic Technology for Monitoring.
With an active and engaged audience, the 1stBiennialConference on Bridge Management was concluded on the 5th of October’16. Having launched IBMS; the app and the portal, IBMS 2016 drove home the need for asset management in India. A grand success, Asset Management Technologies has since announced “IBMS 2018,” the 2nd Biennial conference to take place at Hyderabad, in November 2018.