Hancock Bridge: BMC, Railways turn to Army to build FOB
Nearly four months after pulling down the century-old Hancock bridge, the Central Railway (CR) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are mulling over constructing a temporary a foot over bridge (FOB). In a joint meeting a couple of days ago, it was decided to rope in the Army and build an FOB close to where the erstwhile Hancock Bridge existed.
The Hancock Bridge was between Masjid Bunder and CST. File pic
The locals have been complaining that they have to walk nearly 4 km to get to the other side. In a bid to escape this, the locals — including school children — cross rail tracks, which has led to the loss of six lives so far.
"We had a meeting with the BMC chief on the FOB and have decided to call the Army to construct it. There is not much space for a proper FOB, but we shall try," said SK Sood, general manager, CR.
A CR official said their engineers were busy with the new Hancock Bridge. They suggested that the Army could build it faster and their help had been taken earlier. Sources in the CR said that on one side at the spot, there is a portion where an embankment can be created. On the other end, there is a housing society where the space can be utilised to connect this proposed FOB.
The Army had constructed a temporary FOB at an Asiad Games and here too, a similar concept can be used. The authorities claim that this bridge will only be for people to cross and no vehicles shall be allowed. The CR had demolished the 135-year-old Hancock Bridge in January as it had weakened. The civic body and railways will jointly rebuild the new Road Over Bridge (ROB), which will take 18 months. Till that time, the temporary bridge will allow locals to cross from east to west.
After the bridge's demolition, a 22-year-old man met with an accident with a Kalyan-bound train on April 6 while crossing the tracks. In February, soon after the demolition, a 14-year-old school kid died while crossing rail tracks right under the erstwhile Hancock Bridge. Around 150 residents of Ekta Nagar slums had staged a protest,, following which the BMC assured that a temporary bridge for pedestrians would be built above the tracks.
Another ROB, Carnac Bridge near Byculla, too, will be demolished, as it is very weak. But the authorities claim they will first make alternative arrangements before demolishing it.