Two Years And A Billion Rupees Later, Cracks Appear On The Newly Constructed But Incomplete Flyover In Karachi

The saga of Malir-15 flyover continues. For those who don’t know the importance of this piece of road that has been a total chaos and a mess for the past two years and more since the machine first dug up the road to erect the bridge, this road connects Karachi to the area that produces your Toyota Corolla, Faw V2, Suzuki Mehran, Yamaha, Tyres, medicine, textiles, and more. It connects the city with one of the many industrial areas of Karachi.

We learned from a trusted source that companies had ran campaigns in the media through PR agencies to get this bridge sorted out and then the pathetic quality of roads after it that cater to one of the largest industrial areas of Pakistan, including Pakistan Steel Mills, and Bin Qasim port.

Owing to public pressure, the CM forced authorities to get the bridge running and opened it up after two years  perhaps those PR campaigns bore fruit however a sore one, because the project still had 25 percent of work remaining on the project and the work on that part of the project, has yet to begun owing to encroachments and lack of funds however, Local government minister Jam Khan Shoro said that the project will be completed by June this year.

The flyover took so long to construct that people put graffiti on the walls and was a parking spot for a while.

The flyover took so long to construct that people put graffiti on the walls and was a parking spot for a while and the traffic jams were routine there due to this.

The 257 Meter long Malir-15 flyover has a cost of rupees 913.8 million and a day after its opening, cracks have started to emerge on the bridge while metal beams coming out of its side continuously collide with the trucks passing underneath it. Kainat Construction Company was given the contract to build the bridge and denies that those are cracks rather, the company claims that they are ‘joints’.

Talking with the press, a traffic engineer said that they he has to examine the cracks for its depths and if they are not too deep, they are not dangerous then.

Shah Faisal To Korangi FLyover

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s longest bridge that connects Shah Faisal Town with Korangi Industrial area, has also been subjected to a mafia that has been excavating sands from that area and is also not shy to excavate sands from around its pillars and foundations making them weak. The report in ET further states that the dug up area is left exposed to water that can wash away earth from around it.

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Baber K. Khan

An auto enthusiast trying to bring car media mainstream.

  • Fo

    A few points:

    1. “Running campaigns through PR agencies” means what? Does it mean that they paid PR agencies who in turn paid the TV news channels who as result aired long coverages of traffic jams around Malir 15 (during news time of course)?

    2. The roads to industrial areas being in dilapidated condition is partly on the mill owners themselves because of vested interest. Firstly they themselves overload the trucks. Nothing damages road like overloading does. Secondly they themselves want industrial areas to be in a mess, with dark, broken roads and plenty of crime. Thus prices of property remain relatively low, otherwise the prices of property would shoot, as more and more investors would come. Thirdly, many factory owners support crime because some unwanted employees can be eliminated by “being shot in an armed robbery”. Fourthly, industrial entities cheat greatly from the taxes. Hence you see the condition of infrastructure is better in residential areas compared to industrial areas, because residential residents have actually less stealing of tax. Fifthly, if the industrial area is in bad condition, it is difficult for inspectors of various sorts (EPA, EOBI, ISO) to come, thus supervision can be dealt with.

    3. Fruit can be “sour”, not sore.

    4. There are various parties which have successfully constructed flyovers and bridges in Karachi. Such as AA Quality, Gulf construction, Maqbool associates and others. While Kainat construction company may as well be a “single project company”.

    5. If people remember circa. 2006 some beams were placed for Gulshan Chowrangi flyover. They had extreme sag. Then those beams were replaced before the deck was poured. Now the bridge has been working quite fine because of timely correction.

    6. Cracks and joints are two completely different things. While an untrained person may not know how to distinguish visually. Some knowledge for PW readers: Joints are noted on engineering drawings according to which the object is constructed. Any joint not shown on drawings, or any changes to joints as compared to the drawings, have to be pre-approved from consultant and designer before construction. This is because joint is the weakest link (common sense also applicable to other things), therefore location of joints is carefully decided and responsibility is not on a single stakeholder. Many stakeholders take joint responsibility for the location, size, orientation, position and type of joint.

    7. The traffic engineer may have limited idea of structural engineering. While some cracks are only surface deep and pose no structural threat (such as cracks in plaster or paint, precast flyover elements are fair-face so they do not have plaster, but cement paint is done for aesthetics), there is no meaningful way to ascertain that those cracks are not “deep”. However the main criteria is crack width. A crack as narrow as 0.3 mm can be visually seen from a distance of several feet. However it does not mean it is dangerous. A crack can be a few mm wide but still not be dangerous. This is something only some experienced bridge engineers can decide, again, joint responsibility is taken because lives and property are concerned.

    8. About Malir raabta bridge: Quarrying should always be done from upstream. If quarrying is done from downstream, large pits form, then in the next rains, material from under the bridge is washed away downstream to fill those pits. Same thing happened with Jam Sadiq but it is still standing. Rather it always has problem with deck, not with the substructure.

  • munib

    Very insightful. Well said.
    It always helps when a person makes a comment from a technical point of view.

  • Andrew

    Joints usually mean expansion joints. Every so often there will be the saw toothed ends that connect to another one on the other section. They must have a gap at normal temperarures, so that the section of road can expand in hot weather and contract in cold weather. These are very normal because without them the roadway would tear apart or buckle up. As Fo has pointed out the nature and measurements of the “cracks” will tell the whole story. The steel and road will flex depending on road loads. Any new road, structure or tramway will have teething problems. With a new ship the first voyage is called a shakedown cruise to see what shakes out !