After two years of wrangling and disagreement, four steel girders weighing 40 tonne each were positioned on the under-construction flyover between Kurla and Tilak Nagar railway stations in a span of five hours yesterday.
Crucial placement of the girders began at 11 am and continued till 4 pm, during which two pairs of 40-metre-long girders were set on pillars. A huge crane with a lifting capacity of over 300 tonne was used for the job. “The fifth girder will be placed on the night of Monday-Tuesday, thus completing work on one line,” said a CR official. There are four pillars, two on each side, which would complete work on this six-lane bridge.
The flyover, which is a part of the ambitious Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), has been mired in delays after railway authorities raised objections to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s (MSRDC) plan to place cement girders. Railways wanted changes to the section of the bridge passing over railway tracks on the Harbour and Main line, and the crucial bridge was then converted into a steel structure.
The bridge, once complete would facilitate faster access to motorists going to Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT). “Once this connectivity on the Harbour line is completed by February, we can think of opening the Kurla-Nehru Nagar route of SCLR,” said S Nage, chief engineer, MSRDC. The SCLR is expected to be fully complete by June 2013.
East meets west
In 1846, the island city was connected to the suburbs only through the Mahim Causeway, and for decades city planners continued to focus on north-south connectivity. As the years progressed, with the population explosion in the suburbs – both on the west and east – no east-west connectivity was in place. It was only in 2003 that five east-west connectivity projects were planned, including the SCLR project.
People residing in the eastern suburbs have to use Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road or take a detour from Sion to reach Chembur to get to Navi Mumbai. During peak hours, the journey could take up to 2 hours, but once the SCLR is complete, it will take only 17 minutes. “It was envisaged in 1990s, but has been delayed for long due to lack of coordination between agencies. All the issues should have been sorted before start of the project,” said AV Shenoy, member, Mumbai Vikas Samiti.
The delay has resulted in cost escalation from a mere Rs 110 cr to nearly Rs 550 crore.
Coconut vendor, Abdul Habib (32), provided the only source of refreshment for nearly 100 workers and others present. The private company, implementing the work, specially requested Habib to come to the site with his wares to quench the thirst of engineers at the site.
“It was a holiday for me, but the officials promised me Rs 100 and above on the total sale of coconuts, and so I came,” said Habib. He came at around 10 am and brought around 80 coconuts and by 3 pm he had sold over 30 coconuts.