Mumbai: BMC's plan for bridge at Mahalaxmi station hits a hurdle

BMC's plan for a cable-stayed bridge at Mahalaxmi station hit a hurdle after Western Railways objects to one arm of it passing over a sub-station, citing threat to smooth functioning of trains

The structural audit report of the 80-year-old Mahalaxmi bridge had raised serious concerns over its stability. FILE PIC
The structural audit report of the 80-year-old Mahalaxmi bridge had raised serious concerns over its stability. FILE PIC

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC's) plan for constructing a cable-stayed bridge at Mahalaxmi station, to create an alternative for traffic and start repairs on the existing one, has hit a hurdle. The Western Railway (WR) has denied permission for one arm of the bridge as it passes over a railway sub-station on Dr E Moses Road side.

Not in alignment
Considering the dilapidated condition of the 80-year-old Mahalaxmi station bridge, the civic body had proposed a two-arm cable-stayed bridge to connect Dr E Moses Road (from Worli naka) to Saat Rasta, and Saat Rasta to Keshavrao Khade Marg (towards Haji Ali), which would also act as an alternative for traffic, so that the age-old station bridge could be shut for repairs. A plan was submitted to the WR, as the bridge would pass over railway tracks.

Also read: Here's why BMC has yet to start work on dilapidated Mahalaxmi bridge

Officials from the bridge department said, "In a meeting last week, railway authorities objected to the Dr E Moses Road-Saat Rasta arm as the proposed alignment will pass over a railway sub-station, which could hamper the functioning of trains, thereby posing a risk to commuters."

Speaking to mid-day, chief engineer of the bridge department SO Kori confirmed the development and said, "We have to change the alignment. It will take more time to start now, as we have to go back to the drawing board and make the changes."

"We are carrying out a joint inspection and studying its technical feasibility. It's not as if we have discarded the idea of a cable-stayed bridge," said Ravindra Bhakar, chief PRO, Western Railway.

Damning audit
mid-day had reported on May 11 about the civic body's plan to construct the cable-stayed bridge. The structural audit report of Mahalaxmi bridge had raised serious concerns over its stability, as excessive corrosion of rebars, columns, slabs and beams was observed at several locations. Also, on the railway side, expansion joints through the entire length of the bridge are in a bad condition and will need to be replaced, the report had said.

Also read - Mumbai: Audit calls for urgent repairs on Mahalaxmi bridge; BMC stalls issue

The civic body had expressed its inability to start repair work then, as there's no alternative route to divert the traffic to. According to the figures available with BMC, 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles use Mahalaxmi bridge daily. A new bridge would take at least two years to be ready.

Meanwhile, repairs of the British-era Carnac Bunder bridge are also pending due to lack of an alternative for traffic. Similarly, both the railways and the civic body are yet to start work to rebuild Hancock bridge, which was demolished last year.

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