The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has established a design division to ensure the successful execution of road infrastructure projects and monitor the condition of critical bridges and tunnels. This dedicated unit will develop policies and guidelines for the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of bridges, tunnels, and other structures under NHAI’s purview.
The primary objective behind this decision is to conduct a comprehensive study of previous project failures involving bridges, tunnels, or reinforced earth walls and prevent such incidents in the future. The NHAI’s executive committee granted approval for the division’s creation during a meeting held in July.
The newly formed division is tasked with reviewing the design of all bridges, tunnels, and specific structures at the Detailed Project Report (DPR) stage, particularly those that commenced after June 30. Additionally, the unit will enlist design consultants, proof consultants, soil and material testing labs, as well as experts in bridge, tunnel, reinforced earth walls, and geotechnical engineering.
Moreover, the division will evaluate construction methodologies, temporary structures, lifting and launching methods, and pre-stressing techniques used in selected bridges and structures with spans exceeding 200 meters. They will also develop an IT-based monitoring system to track bridge inventory, inspection records, and identify distressed bridges, proposing annual plans for their repair or reconstruction.
The NHAI design division has the authority to engage advisors, consultants, and geotechnical experts whenever necessary. They can also seek assistance from design experts, research scholars, and postgraduate students from prestigious institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) as per the official note.