Alumni Association of College of Engineering, Pune

Treasure of Bridge Engineering Articles


Written by: Er. Shashikant Tambe (1998)

Bridges are very important in the life of a community. They can change the whole pattern of its life. There are Historical Bridges in Maharashtra. The Bridge near Nagothane built in 1550 by Kaji Allaudian is a bridge of Moghul era. Another one is bridge across Kodavah near Rajapur built in 1610 by a Gujrati merchant. In 1657, Shri Shivajimaharaj constructed a bridge near Pratapgarh. In today’s world of infrastructure development, bridge engineering and bridge experts play the key role. A bridge-project is a challenging task for engineers. Successful completion of a bridge right from its beginning to its operation needs excellent team work of technocrats from public-sectors and private sectors. It is essential to have knowledge, experience and expertise in the field of bridge engineering. Inspiration, training and guidance from eminent bridge engineers are necessary to work in this field. The author, being in charge of bridges in all parts of Maharashtra, noted that much of the credit for the magnificent major bridges being constructed in Maharashtra by the PWD goes to the dedicated engineers carrying out their work silently behind the scenes. Right from designing the bridge initially, these engineers provide all the expertise and guidance required on the PWD side to invite tenders for the works, evaluate them, provide working drawings and do the problem solving during execution. However, many a times, the outside world is not even aware of their existence. While working in PWD in different capacity, the author had opportunities to learn many things from eminent engineers and knowledgeable seniors, through their interaction and guidance. The author’s experiences with some memorable bridges and bridge works are presented in this chapter

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2. Bridges in Urban Environment

Written by: Er. Mahesh Tandon (1999)

In the present day scenario, bridges in the urban environment would essentially be for highways, for various types of railways and for pedestrians. The bridges typically may be of small lengths of less than 0.5 km serving the limiting purpose of spanning across isolated obstacles like roads, rail tracks, streams etc, or they may be of long length of several kilometers providing an elevated structure. While the need for a short length variety is fairly frequent, it is only occasionally that major cities adopt an elevated structure of long length traversing through it. The reason for infrequent adoption of long length elevated structures relates to the high cost, and the tremendous environmental impact of such a structure. Table 5.1 shows a synopsis of technical features of recent examples of elevated highways in urban environment. If a highway is cutting through heavily built development, engineers have been struggling to answer the question: "How to increase the present capacity of the highway"? The most effective answer yet has been to utilize the central verge for supports and create an elevated highway at the top.

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Written by: Dr. Ing. T.N. Subba Rao (2002)

Innovative methods of design and construction of bridges are being developed to improve infrastructure. As well, bridge management, including additional recent concepts of whole life costing, maintenance strategies, deterioration modeling, replacement, and etc., are being introduced to achieve maximum efficiency and economical design of bridges. Whole Life Costing (WLC) should be considered in design. The concept of Net Present Value (NPV) is to be used, where all future costs are brought to today’s value of money. Ranking of bridges is necessary. Initial surveys and its projections are often exaggerated. The toll collection is not proportionate with the investment made. Segmental construction is convenient and economical because of availability of machinery with higher capacity and longer booms for lifting. The new segments of the bridge could be extended from the one already constructed. One need not go down the gorge or valley and erect temporary piers.

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4. Unishear Connectors & Quadricon System For Steel Bridges

Written by: Er. A.S. Bhagat (2003)

Most of the innovations are originated through observations of critical needs of the society and evaluating scopes for improvements that become continuously feasible due to overall developments in all sciences. Steel was chosen as the ideal material for the bridges due to very favorable strength to weight ratio and intrinsic property of bearing tensile as well as compressive forces.

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5. Konkan Railway Technologies For A Paradigm Shift In Rail-Guided Transport

Written by: Mr. Bojji Rajaram (2004)

Engineers must get out of their current mould of constricted thinking to limit themselves to merely design an engineering component, to become just a cog in the wheel of infrastructure development. A holistic view to positively take the world to the next generation of thinking, through technology to improve quality of life at reducing costs, should be the cardinal principle for engineers. As a fellow Structural Engineer, the author has shared his rich knowledge and experience to showcase his efforts in this direction, to set an example by practice, rather than words. Development of ‘Anti-Collision Device (ACD) and ‘Sky Bus Metro’ is the significant contribution in the urban transport Technology for the new millennium.

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Written by: Er. P.Y. Manjure (2005)

Since Independence, there has been a steady and continuous growth in the field of construction. Successive Five Year Plans have made it possible to construct dams, bridges, highways, buildings, factories and many infra-structural and related structures in all spheres of national development. Population of new and old structures is increasing rapidly. The old structures particularly have to cope up with the requirements of present times and that too under the conditions of ageing. Keeping structures, therefore, in healthy and serviceable condition becomes important.

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Written by: Er. Seshadri Srinivasan (2007)

Modern bridge design whilst being the result of unfettered freedom to be creative is also based on numerous factors, including improved material technology, codes of practice reflecting current experience and thinking, and advanced construction techniques. A concept design that is fully responsive to all the requirements of the project is the essential starting point in the design process. The quality of a design is therefore very much dependent on the understanding and synthesis of all aspects of design and construction by the designer who sets about creating the concept design. Every project is unique in that the controlling criterion governing the design presents the designer with a measured response to satisfy these requirements. These are varied and include constraints imposed by the client, the biodiversity of the site and its physical effect upon the durability and performance of materials in relation to the structure.

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Written by: Er. Narasimhan Raghavan (2008)

Apart from sharing some of the work which the author has done in the field of Bridges and structures and highlighting some of the insights which he has been fortunate to have in this noble field, he will also cite some of the works of the organizations with whom he has worked, with appropriate acknowledgements, to highlight the features of some interesting bridges. He has covered various facets which have been key factors in determining the course of his work over the years, and which he deems to be of significant importance for a good structural engineer. The visible face of Infrastructure, that backbone of any economy, is composed of Structures, covering Housing, Transportation, Energy and so on. This Field offers endless opportunities for expressing Creativity-- the Infrastructural context and site conditions being different for each Project, and with the variety of possibilities for the forms and functions of the Structures concerned, the parameters for optimizing are different every time with different variables being involved; the methods of realization are again different every time, given the variations in demands from the stakeholders concerned. It is this interplay of diverse forces which offers numerous opportunities to create something different and unique every time. Satisfaction and a Sense of Achievement are the sure rewards to the person who seizes the chance that is offered to realize a creative solution to the challenge thrown at him! In this field of Structures the author has chosen to highlight Bridges as he has done a good amount of work in this field and as Bridges are present more in the public eye than any other structure, with the possible exception of Buildings; and also as a tribute to the great Shri S.B.Joshi with whose name this award has been enriched.

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9. Integration of construction aspects and aesthetics in structural design

Written by: Er. Vasudev V. Nori (2009)

Generally structural engineers often derive immense satisfaction from the intricate calculations they perform. Seldom any interest is evinced in construction problems. Certain grades of concrete are specified but the designer engineers are least interested in the design of concrete mixes, method of batching workability and many other practical aspects of construction. The “good for construction drawings” are often in form of tabular schedules. Beam column connections are rarely detailed. It is left to the engineers at site to figure out or imagine such important details of construction. Same thing is true for every aspect of construction such as design of scaffolding, intermediate stages of construction, placing underwater concrete etc. With the availability of a variety of user friendly software, design engineers today have virtually very little understanding of structural behaviour and are incapable of performing simple rudimentary calculations. They are totally disinterested in aesthetic aspects of structure they design. Barring a few exceptions most of the bridges that are being built are far from being elegant. How can we loose sight of the fact that structures we design will be judged not by our refined calculations and computer software but rather by the visual impact they make on people who observe these structures! In what follows, we would like to share our experience on benefits of integration of construction and aesthetic aspects in structural design by presenting a few case studies.

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Written by: Er. V.K. Raina (2010)

Bridge design and construction have come a long way during the past few centuries and ‘much water has flown down’ particularly in the past hundred years or so during which more bridges have been built than in ALL the previous centuries. The primitive bridge building perhaps started with a trial and error process. In some misty morning of prehistoric past, a human trying to cross a stream, probably saw a fallen tree across it. When he tried to clamber over, it might have broken and dropped him in the drink. So he thought really hard and felled a fatter tree and this took him across. The first primitive single span wooden beam bridge was thus conceived, designed and built that day! The first arch bridge might have similarly been built about four thousand years back in the Euphrates valley in the Middle East!

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Written by: Er Y.G.Patwardhan (2011)

My first salute goes to Late Er. S B Joshi, our father in Bridge Engineering. Be rest assured that I am under no wrong impression that I deserve any award, whether this in his memory or any other. I remember saying of Goyankaji, the Vipaschana Guru. In Dhamma, one is rewarded for whatever good he does – Immediately. One is punished for his bad acts - immediately. This does not happen in Ethical or day to day life. One will not be rewarded for following traffic rules. One may not be punished even for a murder. In day to day life one has to follow the rules as a matter of his duty. I did this in bridges. So, no award is due to me.

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Written by: Mr. Dindayal Sharma (2012)

The bridge over river Chenab on road Jammu Akhnoor - Poonch in J&K State was lying incomplete for more than three decades. The decision was necessary to find ways and means to complete the permanent bridge to meet the strategic needs of the Nation and to overcome the traffic bottlenecks. The tremendous pressure from the political leadership and the Army authorities for the completion of the bridge had forced the BRO to decide and take many bold, dynamic, brilliant and viable administrative and technical decisions. The proposal, made by the ground executives and examined by the technical and the administrative wings of the department was accepted. This resulted in the construction of 280m long (longest mid span in the country of 160m + 2x 60M approach spans) PSC cantilever single span bridge. This acceptance of the proposal has culminated in the completion of an aesthetically beautiful, and structurally durable bridge over river Chenab at Akhnoor under Project Sampark of the Border Roads Organization under the technical supervision of D.G.B.R.

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13. My Tryst with Bridge Engineering

Written by: Er. Shashikant D. Limaye (2013)

Civil Engineering is a fascinating profession. Particularly, Bridge Engineering, a niche area of civil engineering, provides the Engineer with the highest satisfaction of witnessing physical realization of creative ideas. Development of conceptual design of bridges followed by detailed design including overcoming of numerous problems which arise during execution of bridge projects requires a strong background not only of Structural Engineering but also several other sub-disciplines of civil engineering such as structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, soil mechanics, foundation engineering, hydrology etc. Unless the academic knowledge of a structural engineer is supplemented by field experience and observations at the sites of various types of bridge projects, such an engineer is bound to suffer from lack of confidence in implementation of newer concepts within the framework of four cardinal principals of bridge design viz. Safety, Durability, Economics and Aesthetics.

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14. Innovating and Creating Pioneering Concrete Structures

Written by: Er. Subhashchandra Joglekar (2015)

A small example of Author’s first experience is given here which will help tremendously in understanding the free and fair Engineering Environment. An important decision was left to the Author as a fresh Graduate, to select a proper type of pipe for carrying Municipal Waters - the pipeline was buried deep under high earth pressure (a positive fill condition). The carrying Capacity and the strength and the minimum cost were important. The decision of PVC pipes was taken and implemented. This was the first major lesson in Technical Management. If an opportunity comes your way to make a significant contribution, GRAB IT. And, have the decisions go as per your recommendation. Your reputation is made, and you are the “Man for the Crisis.” Author had faced this situation many a times in his long career of over 45 years. Once you accept a challenge and find a workable and acceptable solution, the Client is yours for the future works.

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Written by: Er. Reddi Subba Arunachala (2006)

In sixities, the construction of bridges was a challanging task for engineers in our country, because of lack of developments in technologies of materials,methods of construction, machinery, equipment, skills,codes of practice, etc. The engineers had to develop the innovative solutions for design and construction of bridges & other structures,according to site conditions and constraints. Innovations & developments of sixities are subsequently resulted to general trends and practices for prestressed concrete bridges constructed later on.

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Written by: Er R T Atre (2001)

In any country, economy in construction of developmental projects, assumes a great significance - more so in developing countries like India. The limited resources available with us need to be utilized in such a fashion that greatest good of the greatest number is achieved. With that aim in view, the author has selected the topic of his presentation, which will of interest to all practicing bridge engineers.

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Written by: Lt. Gen. Mahendra Singh Gosain (1996)

Roads Construction in the Himalayas stared in early 1960. The armed Forces and the Border Roads organization have connected these remote areas to the main land by constructing roads right up to the borders. Bridging is an integral part of road construction. The road construction agencies initially constructed temporary bridges/ crossings which were subsequently converted into semi- permanent equipment bridges. Now permanent bridges are being constructed to replace the equipment bridges. Himalayas are young and unstable mountains with extreme weather conditions and few local resources. Construction of permanent bridges poses numerous problems which have been successfully tackled by the Border Roads Organization. Enough expertise has now been achieved to speed up construction of permanent bridges on the turbulent rivers in the Himalayan Mountains in the North and North East. The chapter includes the author’s presentation on activities of BRO, highlighting the major bridges constructed by BRO, in mountains of Himalayas.

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18. Construction of Fast Track Mumbai Flyover And Thereafter

Written by: Er D K Kanhere (2000)

Traffic in Mumbai moves mainly in the north south direction. When Ghodbunder Road and Agra Road-the two main arteries of the city got congested two Express Highways parallel to the above named roads were constructed. Six east- west link roads joining these Express Highways were also planned and are in various stages of construction today. The Municipal Corporation was to construct service roads for both the expressways. Except for these link roads Express Highways were to have no other cross connections. The junctions of link roads and the Express Highways were to be grade separated. The service roads were, however, delayed and even today are incomplete. But the very rapid development on both sides of both the Expressways has resulted in a number of additional direct cross connections on these express highways. As a result the Express Highways got clogged and had more or less lost their character as express highways. The PWD had developed an East West Connector from Mumbai to Panvel over the Thane Creek Bridge, also of Express Highway standards. However, the city of New Mumbai has developed rapidly around that express highways or and the local cross traffic slows down the through traffic on the main highways.

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Written by: Dr Neelkanth Patwardhan (2017)

Instructions on bridge engineering in the instruction syllabus of Civil Engineering syllabus needs a thorough revision and updation.

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Written by: Er Sitala Sharan (1997)

The construction of Road Bridges in U.P. prior to 1962 was being carried out by U.P. PWD through contractors as being carried out in other States of India. The tenders were invited and works were normally awarded to the lowest bidder. The contract conditions were not very clear in those times and, therefore, in most of the contracts contractors had litigations with the department. Going for arbitration process for a considerably period affected completion of works and used to take a considerably long time besides higher cost of construction. After receiving the sanction of any work from Government, it used to take atleast one to two years to finalize the contract and to commence the work, resulting in escalation of cost over the sanctioned estimates. Besides this, delayed completion at higher cost and the quality of works was also not assured on medium and small works on account of having inexperienced contractors.

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Written by: Er E Sreedharan (1995)

Konkan Railway is the biggest railway construction project undertaken to the Indian subcontinent in the present century. This is a 760 km loan broad gauge (1676 mm) single track line along the west coat of the country connecting Bombay and Mangalore, 382 kms of this line lie in Maharashtra State, 105 kms in Goa State and the remaining 373 kms in Karnataka State, as shown in Fig. 1.1. With the completion of this line, an important gap in the railway map of the country along the west coast gets filled, thereby reducing the haulage distance and transit time between the western and northern part of the country with the southern areas significantly as given in Table 1.1. The completion of this project will usher an era of tremendous socio-economic development of he entire Konkan region, which is presently backward. Major investments in petroleum, power and steel sector are already under way in this area, taking advantage of this important railway line.

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