Bullet Train: Larson & Toubro bags contract for procurement, fabrication of still bridges

Bullet Train: Larson & Toubro bags contract for procurement, fabrication of still bridges

New Delhi: Larson & Toubro on Monday (January 25) won one more Bullet Train related contract under which the company bagged the contract for procurement and fabrication of 28 still bridges for Bullet Train. The contract, worth Rs 1390 crore, has been awarded to Larson & Toubro –IHI Infrastructure Systems (Consortium), which is a consortium of Indian and Japanese companies. 

It is estimated that about 70,000 MT of steel will be used for the fabrication of these steel bridges and Indian Steel industries and their allied supply chains will get a big boost.

National High-speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has awarded Contract for Procurement and Fabrication of 28 steel bridges (Superstructure) for crossing over railway lines, rivers, highways, road and other structures (P-4 Package) for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor, today.

NHSRCL has already awarded civil contracts for the construction of 64% of MAHSR alignment which includes five (5) HSR stations (Vapi, Billimora, Surat, Bharuch, Anand/Nadiad, Train depot at Surat, and One Mountain Tunnel of 350 metres.

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Out of the total length of 508 km, a maximum stretch of the Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) will be covered by the viaduct, which excludes the 21 km long tunnel near Mumbai. The MAHSR alignment over viaduct (487km) will span over National Highways, Dedicated Fright Corridor Tracks (DFC), Indian Railways Tracks and rivers at many locations. Most of the viaduct is being made of concrete (PSC box, Girder). However, where the span requirement will be more than 60 meters, steel superstructures have been planned, as beyond a point PSC structures become heavy and steel superstructures are considered to be more viable and efficient.

In total, 28 steel bridges with individual spans varying from 60 meters to 130 meters will be constructed for the project. The length of all the steel bridges put together will be approximately 4.5 km and their construction would involve more than 70,000 tons of steel fabrication. 

For this purpose, at the initial stages, the steel superstructure work was assigned to Japan Lead (JV) Companies, as the job required the construction of steel superstructures bridges of high-quality Japanese standards for high-speed railway. But as the “Make in India” prospect took flight and as fabrication of steel structures are being executed by Indian companies for all other railway projects, NHSRCL took a keen interest in the possibility of opening steel structure fabrication bid to Indian companies as well.

On discussion with the Japanese side for opening steel superstructure works to Indian companies also, a High-Power Committee comprising of experts from both Indian and Japanese side, namely NHSRCL, India Experts, and JRTT was formed in March 2019. 

The main task of the committee was to assess the capability of various Indian fabricators and ensure whether they can be entrusted with the said work. The Committee was also tasked with the responsibility of recommending the required improvements to the Indian fabricators so that their fabrication quality is levelled with Japanese and global HSR standards.

Over a span of the next few months, the Committee visited various factories in India to assess their capabilities and interacted with some reputed fabricators regarding their infrastructure facility, quality control systems, the skills of their manpower, and previous experience in Railway steel bridge fabrication. In addition to all this, the Committee also visited steel fabrication facilities in Japan in October 2019.

According to the committee, the manufacturing of steel bridges can be achieved by Indian fabrication companies as they have all infrastructure facilities and with the support of highly-skilled human resources and a systematic human-training system the required quality level can be achieved.

The Indian companies may achieve the same technical & engineering finesse of the Japanese steel bridges by learning, training. A few leading Indian companies already have the infrastructure required for the fabrication of this level. 

The technicians, engineers, construction workers will be exposed to high-quality learning, training, guidance, and skill development standards required for HSR bridge construction and fabrication. Systematic inputs from Japan and other countries that have built HSR can further aid in enhancing the workflow systems and upgrade the workforce here to meet the set standards. To achieve this, few additional conditions were included in the tender as explained below.

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