Purvanchal Expressway Package-3

This case study briefly discusses the planning, design and construction of Package 3 of the Purvanchal Expressway

Achint Kumar, Design Engineer and Harpreet Singh, Sr. Project Manager, B&S Engineering Consultants

Package-3 of the Purvanchal Expressway is a 41.7km long section of the 340.82km long expressway. The scheduled completion for this project is October’21, but it is likely to be completed earlier, despite the fact that work has slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Once completed, the Expressway will give faster modes of transportation to the backward regions of the State and also boost its agriculture, commerce, tourism, and other industrial developments.

In India, roads are the most important mode of transportation and there is an immense demand for expressways for economic and business growth of our country. India has a network of over 5,897,671 kilometres of roads as of 31 March 2017 – the second-largest road network in the world after the United States with 6,645,709 kilometres(1).

Major efforts have been made by our government towards development of the country’s road infrastructure.(2) UP may still have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the country, but is giving tough competition to other states with its glistening new blacktop expressways that are crisscrossing the entire State.

The first expressway in the State was the Yamuna Expressway, which opened to traffic in 2012. It was followed by the Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which opened to the public in 2018. The four new upcoming expressways are: the 340-km long Purvanchal expressway, 296-km long Bundelkhand expressway, 91-km long Gorakhpur Link expressway, and the 594-km Ganga expressway. These expressways are scripting a silent transformation in the State - once notorious for its decrepit roads. Once these are complete, UP will have a total network of 1,788 km of expressways - the highest in the country.

Currently, the total expressway network in India is around 1,822 km. No wonder, the UP state has earned the sobriquet of ‘Expressway Pradesh’. The access-controlled road network is being developed by the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), an agency set up by the state government to steer its expressway expansion programme.

The total length of the project is around 340.82km, which starts from Chand Sarai Village in Lucknow District to Haidariya Village in Ghazipur District (Fig: 01). This greenfield project was first announced in May 2015 as the Lucknow – Azamgarh – Ballia Expressway and land acquisition began soon after. Its foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2018, and construction work started in October 2018 by 5 contractors on 8 civil packages with an estimated cost of Rs.22,494 crores, with its opening planned for 2021.

Expressway on MapFigure 01: Expressway on Map

The expressway is divided into 8 packages (3):

Package 1: Chand Sarai (Dist. Lucknow) to Sansara (Dist. Barabanki) (km 0+270 to km 40+200). This 39.93km long package is awarded to M/S Gayatri Projects Limited.

Package 2: Sansara (Dist. Barabanki) to Jaraikala (Dist. Amethi) (km 40+200 to km 79+900). This 39.7km long package is awarded to M/S Gayatri Projects Limited.

Package 3: Jaraikala (Dist. Amethi) to Sidhi Ganeshpur (Dist. Sultanpur) (km 79+900 to km 121+600). This 41.7km long package is awarded to M/S APCO Infratech Pvt. Ltd.

Package 4: Sidhi Ganeshpur (Dist. Sultanpur) to Sansarpur (Dist. Sultanpur) (km 121+600 to km 164+300). This 42.7km long package is awarded to M/S GR Infraprojects Limited.

Package 5: Sansarpur (Dist. Sultanpur) to Gobindpur (Dist. Azamgarh) (km 164+300 to km 218+300). This 54km long package is awarded to M/S PNC Infratech Limited.

Package 6: Gobindpur (Dist. Azamgarh) to Mojrapur (Dist. Azamgarh) (km 218+300 to km 246+500). This 28.2km long package is awarded to M/S PNC Infratech Limited.

Package 7: Mojrapur (Dist. Azamgarh) to Bijaura (Dist. Ghazipur) (km 246+500 to km 292+530). This 46.03km long package is awarded to M/S GR Infraprojects Limited.

Package 8: Bijaura (Dist. Ghazipur) to Haidariya (Dist. Ghazipur) (km 292+530 to km 340+500). This 47.97km long package is awarded to M/S Oriental Structural Engineers Pvt. Ltd.

This package of Purvanchal Expressway starts from Jaraikala (Distt. Amethi) and ends at Sidhi Ganeshpur (Dist. Sultanpur) and is fully access-controlled 6-lane divided carriageway in the state of Uttar Pradesh. There are total 59 structures (excluding culverts) over a length of 41.7 Km. (roughly one structure in 700m length). There are 3 major bridges all crossing Sharda canal at different locations, 2 flyovers, 1 ROB (crossing Faizabad (Ayodhya) – Sultanpur Loop line), 14 Minor Bridge (mostly over canals and drains), 4 VUP’s, 22 LVUP’s & 13 PUP’s. Minor Bridges, LVUPs, PUPs and VUPs are straight as well as skew to the expressway alignment, with maximum skew angle of 69 degrees. For VUP’s, LVUP’s and PUP’s, RCC single cell box type structures are proposed with clear opening of 12m, 10.5m and 7m respectively.

Salient Features and Structural Arrangement
The overall deck width for structures is 21.25m for single carriageway. Two independent carriageways are provided for traffic movement in each direction separated by 3m wide median. Total available ROW (right of way) is 120m. In this 6-Lane expressway, UPIEDA planned to construct all structures with 8-Lane width for future widening of the expressway. This additional lane of 3.25m width is provided on outer edge of each carriageway and is closed for traffic by providing W-beam crash barrier (Fig: 02). To improve the riding quality lesser number of expansion joints are provided by proposing continuous structures.

Typical Cross-Section of CarriagewayFigure 02: Typical Cross-Section of Carriageway

Length between abutment to abutment for 3 Major Bridges is 160m (35m+35m+20m+35m+35m), 95.974m (11.568m+36.419m+36.419m+11.568m), and 96m (11.581m+36.419m+36.419m+11.581m), while length of flyover is 65.912m consisting of 2 x 32.956m spans. Total no. of girders in this package is 253 out of which 56 RCC girders are proposed for 11.6m span. Remaining 197 girders are PSC post-tensioned girders. For major bridges, the span arrangement is kept in such a way that no pier and its foundation fall in the canal section, hence closer of canal is not required for construction, which sometimes delay the construction. Two intermediate cross girders are proposed for spans more than 32m. Each span is supported by 8 spherical bearings, four on either end. Longitudinally fixed bearings are provided on intermediate pier and bearings on other piers are kept free to move in longitudinal direction. However, at least one bearing on every pier is fixed in transverse direction for transferring transverse horizontal force.

To support 21.25m wide deck, 2-Legged portal pier type substructure is proposed resting over 1.2m diameter bored cast-in-piles. Skew angle for all three bridges is different (i.e. 390, 210 & 270). Portal beam shape and size are so dimensioned that minimum change in shuttering is required for casting of portal beam for all three skew bridges (Fig03). Width of the portal beam is kept as 3.5m to accommodate the bearings form both spans and depth of portal beam is kept as 1.5m near support and 1.0m at mid location and cantilevers to have aesthetically pleasing shape. The depth of portal beam varies over a length of 2.5m utilizing same shuttering for all skew angles. Two circular piers of 1.8m diameter are provided connected at top by portal beam. These columns are supported on individual pile caps and 1.2m diameter bored cast-in-situ piles.

Typical Arrangement of Portal Pier

Typical Cross-Section of ROBFigure 05: Typical Cross-Section of ROB
For ROB, as per approved GAD 64m main span is proposed over railway track with approach spans of 10.545m on either end of ROB (Fig 04). Bowstring type super structure is proposed for 64m span while RCC solid slab is proposed for the approach spans. Bowstring superstructure supported over 4 spherical bearings, one at each end of two bows. All spans are simply supported over bearings.

The ROB also, portal type sub-structure is proposed with 2.5m x 1.5m rectangular column under each bearing of bowstring superstructure (i.e. 23.25m apart). Additionally, 3nos. of 1.25m diameter of circular columns are proposed to reduce the span of portal beam. The beam has a width of 3.4m and 1.5m overall depth. All the columns are supported on a common pile cap with 15 nos. of 1.0m diameter bored cast-in-situ piles. For approach spans of ROB, portal type substructure is proposed with 4 nos. of 1.25m diameter of circular columns under each bearing. The beam has a width of 1.5m and 0.75m depth. All the columns are supported on a common pile cap with 8 nos. of 1.0m diameter bored cast-in-situ piles.

The other small structures i.e. minor bridge, VUP, LVUP, and PUPs, RCC single or multiple box type structure is proposed for ease and fast construction.

Design Aspects for Various Components

1. Major Structures
Superstructure: Earlier construction of bridges was done by RCC but in present world, most of the construction of bridge component specially superstructure is done by using prestressing technique. In present case, post-tensioned girder with cast-in-situ RCC deck slab is proposed. The advantage of using post-tensioned girders is that they can be cast at the location of structure and erected directly with the help of crane thus avoiding any transportation. PSC post-tensioned I-Girder of depth 2250 mm and web thickness 250 mm is proposed for all spans. The girders are connected at top with 220mm thick RCC deck slab. End diaphragm is 800mm wide and projecting 100mm below girders. Two intermediate cross girders of 300mm thickness and 1250mm depth are provided at equal distances.

The superstructure is modelled and analysed in STAAD and designed accordingly. The design is done in accordance with IRC: 112-2011. In general stressing of girder is done by using 19T13 cables. M-45 grade of concrete is considered for girders while M40 is used for deck slab and cross girders. The profile of cables along girder is so adjusted so as to keep stress at every section of girder within permissible limits. Cable profile in girders of a module are kept same for all girders i.e. outer and inner girders, and only no. of strands in one of the cables of outer girder is changed as per design requirement. Corrugated HDPE sheathing is used in all the girder. All Bridges are designed for SV loading, in addition to class A & 70R loading. Bearings are provided under end diaphragm and not under girder, so that casting of girders can be done without waiting for bearing sleeves.

Substructure & Foundation: To support 21.25m wide carriageway there are two options one PSC cantilever pier cap with single pier and the other is RCC portal beam with two piers. PSC cantilever type pier cap is little complicated from construction point of view as it requires additional activity of prestressing. Moreover, it is not possible to stress the pier cap in one stage, it generally requires two or three stage of prestressing. Keeping fast track construction in mind it is decided to provide portal pier type substructure.

Geotechnical investigation is carried out in order to know the characteristics of soil at site. Liquefaction analysis is also done, soil in this stretch is found to be non-liquefiable. Based on Geotech report recommendations, 1200mm dia bored cast-in-situ piles of depth approximately 26m is proposed as foundation system.

All components of substructure and foundation are designed under ultimate & serviceability limit state in accordance with IRC:112-2011. All durability requirements as described in IRC: 112-2011 is satisfied.

2. ROB
Bowstring girder is proposed for ROB main span over railway track. In bowstring girder, all members are of steel except deck slab. Superstructure is designed following the philosophy of working stress method using IRC:24-2010. For design of composite beams IRC:22-2015 is followed. In IRC:22-2015 limit state design philosophy is followed. Due to failures reported in few recently built Bowstring girder type ROB’s, it was made mandatory by railway board to get the design verified and approved by RDSO Lucknow, after getting the same proof checked by IIT. Construction sequence for bowstring is as follows:
  • All steel members are to be fabricated and erected on substructure, this condition is termed as “Bare frame condition”.
  • Casting of deck slab.
  • Cast crash barrier and lay wearing coat and move live load.
Superstructure is designed for two conditions:
  • Construction stage: Bare steel frame condition is applicable in this stage in which only steel members will be effective for taking self-weight of members, green concrete weight of deck slab and loads arising from construction activities.
  • Service stage: In this stage, composite action of steel and deck slab will come into picture. Two types of design is done in which one is designed using long term property of composite action for Crash barrier and wearing coat type of loading as these are permanent loads. Another with short term property of composite action for live load, Wind/Seismic loads as these are transient loads.
Superstructure is checked for deflection criteria under serviceability limit state and it came out to be the most important check. Pre-camber is provided in the main girder and cross beams for the deflection due to permanent loads.

3. Minor Structures
There are 14 minor bridge, 4 VUP’s, 22 LVUP’s & 13 PUP’s. Span length for these structures varies from 8m to 18m and skew angle from 0 degrees (straight) to 69 degrees. At these locations, geotechnical investigation is carried out it is found that safe bearing capacity at 0.5m to 1m depth below existing ground level is in the range of 12t/m2 to 14t/m2. and the soil is non-liquefiable. These results are suitable for proposing RCC single/multi cell box type structures resting on ground, with founding level about 1m below existing ground level. RCC box type structures are robust and constructed very easily at faster rate in comparison with other type of structure.

At some locations, the height of structures from founding level is in the range of 16m. So, at these locations vertically twin cell RCC box is proposed. (i.e. “Double decker” type RCC box). (Fig. 6). Intermediate slab is proposed in between top and base slab, this not only resulted in reducing the wall thickness, but also reduced the deflection of walls. The other option was to provide beams at intermediate level instead of slab. But slab is preferred due to faster construction.

Double Decker RCC BoxFigure 06: Double Decker RCC Box

Construction Aspect

1. Major Structures
There are total 422 piles of 1200mm diameter, 96 pile caps, 88 portal piers, 44 portal beams, 197 PSC girders, 56 RCC girders and 39 deck slabs to be constructed in addition to ROB and RCC box type structures. All girders are cast at site and erected using cranes.

Total 2 numbers of rigs are deployed for casting of 422 bored cast-in-situ piles. For piling at major bridges one rig is deployed on either side of canal. Maximum capacity of one rig is 3 piling per day. Conventional bentonite slurry is used for piling. It took on an average 14 days for casting of pile cap and pier including chipping of piles. And another 15 days for casting of portal beam.

Casting of girders is done at every bridge location simultaneously with piling and casting of portal pier. Casting of girders is also done on both side of canal to minimise girder shifting and erection cost. Average production of 6 girders per week is achieved at site. Curing of girders is done by gunny bags which is a conventional method. Launching of girders is a critical task as Sharda canal is a twin canal in which two canals flow side by side (Photo 1 of Fig: 07). For launching of girders, cranes are used, having maximum capacity 250t, on an average 3 girders are erected per day. For casting of deck slab sacrificial profile sheet is used for spans above flowing canals and conventional method for balance spans. On average, it took 16 days to complete one deck slab.

Construction Sequence of Major BridgeFigure 07: Construction Sequence of Major Bridge

2. ROB
Bowstring girder is proposed for 64m span. In total around 1800tonne (approximately) of steel is used in two carriageways of 64m span. For erecting bowstring girder, 3 cranes are used having capacity of 50MT, 200MT and 400MT and it took about 75 days to erect one span of 64m for which about 25 welders worked at site. Total of 88 hours of railway closure time is taken in order to complete construction above railway track in different time of launching stages. Fabrication of steel bowstring took about 200 days. For erecting bowstring girder temporary staging is setup at site and cribs are supported on open foundation of about 4000mm x 4500mm x 500mm (Fig 08).

Construction of ROBFigure 08: Construction of ROB

3. Minor Structures
There are about 52 box type Single/Multi cell structures cast in this stretch of expressway. For excavation and laying PCC approximately 1 to 2 days are required with simultaneous working on cutting and bending of steel which required on an average 4 days. Casting of raft, walls took around 7 days and 4 days (depending on height of walls) approximately. Staging works and casting of top slab requires around 10 to 14days. For most of these structure M30 grade concrete is used.

It will be incomplete to close this case study without mentioning the teams, who are working day night Wholeheartedly to complete this project and open it for public at the earliest. This project is a wonderful example of dynamic leadership of UPEIDA team (the client), who actively and timely resolved all site related administrative or any problem, that hinders the contractors progress. The close coordination between Contractor, Designer, Authority Engineer and Client coupled with joint meetings conducted by UPEIDA helped in faster decision making and progress at site.

Construction Sequence of RCC BoxFigure 09: Construction Sequence of RCC Box

Sincere thanks to Mr. Dharamendra Singh, Senior Manager (Structures) and Mr. Manoj Kumar, Deputy Project Manager, APCO Infratech Pvt. Ltd., for providing important information about site activities and photographs; and to Mr. Devjyoti Paul, Dy Project Manager B&SEC for providing information about ROB design; and to Mrs. Soni Rawat, Draughtsman, B&SEC, Noida, for providing the various sketches.

Client: UPEIDA, Lucknow
EPC Contractor: APCO Infratech Pvt. Ltd., Lucknow
Authority Engineer: Egis Consulting Engineers, Gurugram.
Design Consultant: B&S Engineering Consultants, Noida.

  • “Roads in India”, Wikipedia
  • Article “In Yogi’s UP, expressways are scripting a silent transformation” published in The Print
  • UPEIDA website
  • IRC:112-2011 – Code of Practice for Concrete Road Bridges
  • IRC:6-2017 – Standard Specifications and Code of Practice for Road Bridges Section: II Loads and Loads Combinations
  • IRC:78-2014 – Standard Specifications and Code of Practice for Road Bridges Section: VII Foundation and Substructure
  • IRC: SP:99-2013 – Manual of Specifications and Standards for Expressways
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