Residents of Bhatwadi in Ghatkopar are upset with the 100-metre long bridge coming up on RB Kadam Road. Locals have started a signature campaign to draw the attention of civic officials, and claim that the bridge will obstruct traffic for emergency services, such as fire tenders. The 100-metre-long bridge rises to a height of less than four metres from the road below it, and most of the vehicles used by the fire department are more than four metres in height.
Residents also complained that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) did not consult the locals and the fire department before constructing the bridge. A local resident said, “Big vehicles like fire tenders will have to take another route via Jamunpada Maniklal area to reach Bhatwadi, which may be time-consuming.” Earlier, emergency services took 10 minutes to reach the area but after the construction of the bridge, the time lag will increase to 20 minutes.
An official said that ideally, the bridge should be at a height of over 4.5 metres above the road. Locals have also complained that carrying big idols during the Ganesh festival will be impossible owing to the low height of the bridge.
Deepak Hande, BMC corporator from Bhatwadi area, has kicked off a signature campaign against the construction of the bridge and plans to meet the MMRDA and fire department officials in order to find a solution.
“MMRDA has told us that it can’t increase the height of the bridge. The officials claim that they will dig the road and lower its level so that the height between the road and the slab of the bridge increases. However, I feel that it is not a realistic solution as many pipelines lie under the road,” Hande said.
He added that after a short circuit in the locality recently, the fire brigade was forced to take another route to get to the spot. “We were lucky that it was late in the night and the fire brigade could reach on time. Had it been during the day, it would have caused more problems,” Hande said.
A fire department official said, “At present, the height between the bridge and the road is four metres. Our vehicles which are 3.7 metres in height can easily pass under the bridge, but fire tenders with special appliances, jumbo tankers, ration trucks and multi-axle vehicles will find it difficult to pass, as their height is more than four metres.” An MMRDA official said, “We will speak to the BMC officials to resolve the issue of underground pipelines.”