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Kherwadi flyover incomplete, but still thrown open to traffic

While the much-awaited southbound carriageway was inaugurated yesterday, crash barriers have still not been installed properly and the gap between two expansion joints below is not filled

You will be happy to note that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurated the southbound stretch of the Kherwadi flyover yesterday. Yet, if you drive over it, you can see the flyover is still incomplete. One can observe that the crash barriers haven’t been properly affixed, and scaffolding is still set up at some places to put in the finishing touches.

The gap between expansion joints is still to be filled with concrete-cement mixture. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar, Sayed Sameer Abedi
The gap between expansion joints is still to be filled with concrete-cement mixture. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar, Sayed Sameer Abedi

Inaugurating the three lanes, the CM said, “The project has been completed on time and with precision. The northern arm shall be ready in the next 7-8 months.” But, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) seems to have been hasty in opening the flyover for traffic.

All through the day, labourers were seen working on different parts of the flyover
All through the day, labourers were seen working on different parts of the flyover

Also read: Kherwadi Junction flyover - Southbound stretch likely to open on Monday evening

Motorists, while happy that commute time will be reduced, couldn’t help but notice that the structure was still work-in-progress in some areas. Andheri resident Paresh Ingale said, “When I was passing below the bridge, I could see work was still going on in one patch underneath it.”

The nuts and bolts holding the safety barriers in place weren’t tight enough. Thus, the barrier may not be able to withstand an impact and prevent a car from tumbling down the bridge, as it is supposed to do
The nuts and bolts holding the safety barriers in place weren’t tight enough. Thus, the barrier may not be able to withstand an impact and prevent a car from tumbling down the bridge, as it is supposed to do

Crash barriers, joints
mid-day visited the spot to gauge the situation. Firstly, scaffolding is clearly visible near the junction below the flyover; work was ongoing in the morning, even as the inauguration was set for the afternoon. Moreover, the gap between two expansion joints below the structure was yet to be filled up with a mixture of concrete-cement.

Even as the inauguration pandal is put up above, work was still being done below the flyover
Even as the inauguration pandal is put up above, work was still being done below the flyover

Also read: Inauguration of Kherwadi flyover delayed by two weeks

At other places, nuts and bolts used to affix the crash barriers have not been properly fitted. Usually, barriers are put in place with four nuts and bolts, but in some places, there were only three, with one of them still half-loose. A crash barrier restricts vehicles from falling off the bridge, in case there is an accident. With the barrier itself not firmly in place, it may not be able to prevent a vehicle from plunging off the flyover, if it comes in contact with it.

Scaffolding along the flyover still stands
Scaffolding along the flyover still stands

Expertspeak
The 580-metre-long structure will clear congestion at the Kherwadi junction and will help motorists enjoy a signal-free drive from Dahisar to Worli. It took the MMRDA 226 days to build it. Another problem that the flyover may face is that tar on the road was laid in the first week of June.

Motorists will now get a signal-free drive from Dahisar up to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link
Motorists will now get a signal-free drive from Dahisar up to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link

However, Nandkumar Salvi, an experienced retired engineer from BMC’s Roads and Bridges department, noted, “A government circular says tar laying work has to be completed before May 10. Otherwise, the incoming rains may cause potholes in the newly made road.” If Salvi’s warning were to come true, motorists are in for a bumpy ride in the next month or so, thereby nullifying the time saved by the structure.

Transport experts feel the tar, since it was laid too close to the monsoons, may develop potholes as rains lash the city in the coming days
Transport experts feel the tar, since it was laid too close to the monsoons, may develop potholes as rains lash the city in the coming days

Also read: Rs 21.96-crore Kherwadi flyover likely to be operational before monsoon

Salvi further said, “I personally feel that the flyover was opened in a hurry to aid motorists during monsoon. I hope the authorities have checked that everything is properly in place.”

CM Prithviraj Chavan, while inaugurating the southbound stretch of the Kherwadi stretch, said the northbound stretch would be completed in 7-8 months
CM Prithviraj Chavan, while inaugurating the southbound stretch of the Kherwadi stretch, said the northbound stretch would be completed in 7-8 months

While applauding the MMRDA for delivering the flyover in a short period of time, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Pratap Dighavkar told mid-day, “If the safety barriers haven’t been properly put in, we will ensure that MMRDA officials take care of all safety issues.”

Voices
Sheel Sampat, a regular commuter at Kherwadi junction
The flyover will indeed help in reducing traffic snarls. But MMRDA has not done work properly in its rush to complete it. Concrete at some joints is still missing.

Nilesh Posham-pellu, a motorist
The flyover will definitely help reduce the traffic snarls, but looking at the pending work, it raises questions on our safety, since it was made in such a short time.

Shalin Joshi, a motorist
I noticed the scaffolding on the bridge when passing below it on Monday morning.

Smita Shah, a pedestrian who passed from under the flyover
Cleaning process was not complete near the junction, which may create a problem.

MMRDAspeak
MMRDA’s Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar claimed, “The flyover wasn’t open hurriedly. All major work has been completed. A team of experts first checked all aspects and only then was it inaugurated.”

Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan said, “The flyover has been thrown open as construction work is complete.
Scaffolding below the flyover is for the purpose of painting the structure. If at all the nuts and bolts of crash barriers are not fitted properly, we will see to it that they are done so.” MMRDA Chief Engineer Sharad Sabnis clarified, "The flyover has been thrown open after checking all aspects It is wrong to say that the flyover is not safe for traffic. Usually, there is no work related to filling of concrete that is left. Scaffolding is left behind for painting work. Crash barriers have been installed under proper supervision. There can be one or two places where the nut and bolt might appear to be loose, but that is because of the size of the nut and bolt."

Rs 21crore: Total cost of constructing the entire Kherwadi flyover

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