The multi-axle vehicle ran into the low-height railway bridge at 4 am and got stuck, and could only be removed with the help of a crane by 11.30 am; traffic piled up for as long as 4 km, delaying office-goers by several hours
Thousands of motorists in the city were subjected to something worse than Monday blues, when a trailer that had rammed into the King’s Circle bridge blocked their way and caused traffic to pile up. The accident had occurred in the wee hours yesterday, and the vehicle could only be cleared before noon.
The incident occurred at 4 am, when the driver veered his heavy vehicle into the No-Entry zone from Sion Bridge towards King’s Circle. Mahabali Yadav, the driver of the container (GJ-12-AZ-9268), said he couldn’t see the signboard prohibiting the entry of heavy vehicles, and drove into the railway bridge, causing his vehicle to get stuck. “I didn’t see the signboard, since it was very dark. Had I seen it, I wouldn’t have gone that way.”
TRAFFIC 'JAMMED': Mahabali Yadav says he couldn’t see the signboard banning entry of heavy vehicles and thus drove the truck into the no-entry zone. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Yadav, who had been driving on the trot for four days from Gujarat, had taken a break on Sunday afternoon. He added that he couldn’t recollect if there were streetlights around the bridge and that he started driving at night to avoid traffic. The truck was heading to deliver stationery items to local distributors in the city.
Traffic piled up and stretched as far as 3-4 kilometres, delaying office-goers by hours.
The Traffic police got to know of the accident at 5 am and efforts began to clear the vehicle from the way. By 8 am, office-goers from King’s Circle began making their daily drive to south Mumbai, and found themselves stuck in traffic that went on to 3-4 kms. Some decided to walk to avoid the torturous wait.
More than three hours later i.e. at 11.30 am, the truck was removed by cutting its top right side with the help of a crane.
The King’s Circle bridge connects the Western and Central Railways via the Harbour line. All trains going from CST to Andheri take this bridge. Of the 10 lakh commuters on Harbour line, nearly 2 lakh use this route. 36 trains make 583 trips a day on the CST-Panvel-Andheri Harbour Line section.
Railway sources said that since there were no trains plying at the time of the incident, there was no danger and services were not affected. They said that the portion of the bridge with the tracks has not been damaged, though a part of the bridge has been bent.
The driver has been charged with multiple offences.
An official from Wadala RPF said, “The driver has been arrested and booked under Section 154 (endangering safety of persons travelling by railway by rash or negligent act or omission) of the Railway Act. He has also been charged for violating traffic rules and under Section 184 (driving dangerously) of the Motor Vehicles Act.” The driver will be taken to the railway court for further investigation on Wednesday, he added.
'Won’t increase bridge's height'
The railways are working on extending platforms on the Harbour line to allow plying of 12-car trains. Work is underway also on King’s Circle station, where positions of signal poles have been changed, and track alignments have been revised.
However, railways do not plan to alter the bridge. “We don’t have any proposal to raise the height of this rail bridge. These are container trailers ply wrongfully when there is no space,” said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, Central Railway. Railway officials said the onus was on the vehicle manufacturers to change their design. “Why should an old bridge be raised? Why can’t the vehicle manufacturers lower the base of the carriage or lessen the wheel width?” questioned another railway official.
Jyothsna Serra, student
I was stuck for more than an hour, while going to Lower Parel. I had to pay a huge amount to the taxi I was in.
Lavanya Venkates-waran, student
It usually takes me 5 minutes to reach SIES College from Sion flyover. Today it took me more than 30 minutes.
Joseph Stephen, employed
I was travelling to Matunga by bus when we got stuck. Due to the traffic, I got down and decided to walk towards Matunga.
Mukund Jaganna-than, employed
I was going towards Sion Hospital and traffic started at 8.20 am, which is very early even for rush hour. Cars stood bumper to bumper. Everyone at my office reached late.