The railways for the first time will allow third party audits of its bridges, a month after one of its road over bridges collapsed in Andheri in Mumbai injuring five, two of whom died later, a senior official of the ministry said.
The general managers of all the zones have been asked to fix specialised national or even international agencies to conduct these technical audits.
"The board has said the present system of inspections of bridges is considered adequate and they will be continue, but keeping in view the incidents of part collapse/failure of ROBs, railway bridge and FoBs it has been decided to conduct third party audit of identified and critical bridges for an independent expert view," the official said.
Zonal railways has been advised to carry out a one-time audit which would include under-water inspection, non-destructive testing, design adequacy for present day loading, including earthquake force.
Post the July 3 collapse, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had ordered the Indian Railways to collaborate with IIT-Bombay to carry out an audit of 445 bridges.
However, in Delhi, the Railway Board has instructed that IITs/NITs or any other reputed institute may conduct representative checks based on the recommendations made by the third party audit report, the official added.
All mega bridges, railway bridges with ORN 1 rating (requiring immediate building/rehabilitation), ROBs, FOBs, all bridges which are more than 80 years old and all those that railways might consider critical will be inspected in the third party audit, the official said.
The board has given 15 days to the zones to work out an action plan for the audit, the official said.
There are over 37,162 railway bridges which are more than 100 years old with almost 32 per cent of them in the northern zone, the government had informed Parliament earlier this year.
Recently, a parliamentary standing committee had criticised the condition of railway bridges remarking that some British-era railway bridges were in a better condition than the ones built after Independence, blaming the nexus between officials and contractors for the poor quality of bridges.