Huge cave in at Marine Drive; traffic disrupted

Even the super rich in Mumbai get sub-standard roads. A portion of the busy Marine Drive near Birla Krida Kendra opposite Girgaum Chawpatty caved in early on Saturday, because of a major leak in a water pipeline directly beneath the road. A major catastrophe was averted, however, as the cave-in happened at 5.15 am. Over 1,00,000 vehicles traverse Marine Drive on an average working day during peak office hours between 9 and 10 am.

The crater looked straight out of a horror story -- a 30 feet long and 15 feet deep ditch. “If the incident had taken place just three or four hours later, several motorists might have been seriously hurt,” said an official from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s road department.

BMC engineers later traced the problem to a corroded water pipeline that runs right below the road near the divider. The pipeline in question is over a century old. “Similar incidents keep happening in many areas in the city, due to leakages in storm water drains and at times even in the sewer lines, which leads to craters,” said a senior BMC official.

Marine Drive  turned into a big mass of mud and slush on Saturday  morning as a portion of the road caved in, forming a deep ditch. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

PR Masurkar, assistant municipal commissioner of the D Ward told SUNDAY MiD DAY, “The work of locating the source of the leakage and replacement of the pipeline has started and will be completed by late night.” He also said resurfacing work will start once the pipeline is fixed. “The resurfacing should be finished by Sunday morning and we are hopeful that the road can be opened by noon,” Masurkar added.

By evening, cars were allowed to ply on one side, but commuters had a hard time as repair work had started in full swing

Cave-in at regular intervals
Senior civic officials said that cave-ins are a regular problem in the island city where most pipelines, storm water drains and sewer lines running underneath are over 80 years old.

Workers were seen toiling hard inside the ditch, trying to repair the pipeline by late evening. Pics/Dutta Kumbhar

The civic body does not have the knowhow to check the condition of the underground utilities in order to curb such incidents, they admitted. The underground pipelines running below the ground have corroded and developed cracks, leading to the erosion of soil under the road and resulting in formation of cave-ins. 

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