Work has started today for renovation of the 58-year-old Umiam dam including the bridge over it which connects Ri-Bhoi district with Shillong.
The project which is being executed by ITD Cementation India Limited will take around four months.
Due to the renovation work known as ‘Rehabilitation and Improvement of Umiam Stage-I’, all vehicles coming to Shillong have been diverted to Shillong By-Pass and VIP Road, Mawtawar.
However, vehicles going towards Ri-Bhoi and Assam are allowed to ply through the Umiam dam bridge.
It may be mentioned that ITD Cementation India Limited bagged the contract for the renovation of the Umiam dam bridge and three other dams of the Meghalaya Power Generation Corporation Limited (MePGCL) at the cost of Rs 45, 58, 15,055.
For Umiam dam, the work has four categories which included rehabilitation and improvement of the dam and dam block, concrete dam gallery, spillway, and the deck of the bridge.
For dam and dam block, the work will comprise grouting of dam body from dam top to control seepage, curtain grouting, treatment of contract joints and crack repairing on the upstream face of the dam.
For the concrete dam gallery, the work includes re-drilling of drainage holes, drilling of formed drains in the dam body, repair of concrete steps and footpath to reach the dam gallery on both banks, and delivery of sump well piping system.
For the spillway, the work includes provision of reinforced concrete for the spillway plunge pool.
For the road and bridge, the work includes strengthening and widening of the existing approach deck bridge and strengthening and widening the existing approach road to the intake stop log and trash rack.
Umiam bridge is the major lifeline of the State and interconnects several north-eastern states. Concerns have been expressed over the safety of the bridge which was built in 1965.
It may be noted that the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) which conducted safety audit of the Umiam bridge has recommended that heavy-loaded vehicles should not be permitted to ply on the bridge until retrofitting of “distressed members” which included girder beam and deck slab and that the maximum permissible load of the bridge should be 15 tons.
Following this report, the authorities have prohibited the plying of heavy vehicles exceeding the load of 15 tons from Shillong towards Umiam and vice versa to avoid further damage to the Umiam dam bridge which connects East Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi.
According to the order, heavy vehicles exceeding the load of 15 tons should proceed towards Shillong By-Pass through Mawryngkneng.