This may come as further bad news if you travel to work on the Western Express Highway. The damaged southbound carriageway of the Dindoshi flyover, which may go under repairs in less than two weeks, may have to be shut completely.
Nine slabs of the bridge need urgent repairs
mid-day had reported on March 18 how cracks had appeared beneath the southbound carriageway, with nine slabs needing urgent repairs, as directed by a team from IIT-Bombay.
mid-day report on March 18 about the damaged bridge. File pic
After much delay on part of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the Traffic police, it was finally decided to put the bridge under repairs, in a meeting between MSRDC, Traffic police and the Public Works Department (PWD) on Friday.
However, while the Traffic police want one lane operational during repair work, MSRDC wants the whole southbound road closed. MSRDC’s Superintendent Engineer, B N Ohol, said, “We have emphasised on closing all three lanes of the southbound carriageway of Dindoshi flyover for repairs.
There are some limitations from the Traffic department, and we will take a final call during execution.” A senior official from MSRDC said, “Repairing damaged slabs is not a small job. We need all three lanes to be shut. If the Traffic department doesn’t allow us, it will be difficult for us to do our job.”
Diversion of traffic
The Traffic department has told MSRDC to keep one lane open for light vehicles. They also want to divert heavy vehicular traffic to the service road below the flyover. This service road, too, is being repaired by the PWD. In the meeting, it was decided that repair work would begin only after the service road is repaired, and PWD has agreed to do the job in a week.
PWD’s Executive Engineer B B Lohar said, “The Traffic department is of the opinion that one lane of the flyover should be kept operational for light vehicles when the repair work starts. But before that, they want us to repair the southbound service road stretch, which we will complete in a week’s time so that the traffic of heavy vehicles can be diverted via the service road.”
At present, the condition of the southbound stretch of the service road below the Dindoshi flyover up to General AK Vaidya Marg junction is in a really bad condition, because of which heavy traffic jam is seen during peak hours due to slow movement of vehicles.
Big vehicles on bridge
On Friday afternoon, this correspondent noted that despite a board stopping them from doing so, heavy vehicles were freely using the damaged stretch of the bridge.
There were no authorities to stop them, too. Officials from MSRDC have repeatedly warned against letting heavy vehicles pass over the already crumbling bridge, but, they say, the Traffic department has not taken the warnings seriously.
“Now that the PWD has agreed to repair the service road after Aarey flyover to divert heavy vehicles onto it, we see it as a positive sign,” added the official. It should be noted that this same stretch of the flyover had gone under repairs in October 2013, and one lane of the bridge had been closed, leading to huge traffic jams.