Mumbai: Why your daily commute via Amar Mahal flyover just got harder

On April 8, commuters on the Eastern Express Highway found the Thane-bound end of the Amar Mahal flyover - a unique Quadracon design, i.e. concrete bridge mounted on steel structure - closed for traffic.

Also read - Mumbai: Traffic woes to continue on EEH as Amar Mahal flyover to reopen only in 2018

Then, on April 18 began the nightmare, as the flyover, a crucial connector to the city from Thane and Navi Mumbai, was closed off for at least four months. This week, mid-day breaks down what the cut-off from the Amar Mahal flyover means for you.
- Inputs by Ranjeet Jadhav

What really happened?
At the time, PWD officials said that unexpected overloading had damaged its bearings due to an adverse curvature, and then appointed an eight-member committee to look into the damage. A PWD engineer said the damage was not due to breaking of steel rods or concrete spans, but due to the opening of one of the steel locks that binds the 'V' structure of the steel frame laid between the concrete bridge and the pillars of the flyover. However, authorities have insisted they found no deficiency in the design and construction of the flyover, so no action would be taken against the builder.

Also read: 22 flyovers in Mumbai to be repaired after decades

The curvature that has disjointed and is being repaired. Pics/Suresh Karkera
The curvature that has disjointed and is being repaired. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Citizen speak

Abhishek Vyas, Powai resident
I have been facing problems, as I use this road while coming from Dadar to Powai. Due to this, I end up wasting more than 40 minutes and a lot of fuel. Why can't we have quality work when it comes to public infrastructure? Our bridges are not at par with international standards; abroad, bridges have a lifespan of over 100 years.

Also read: Mumbaikars, get ready for more traffic woes as Amar Mahal flyover to be rebuilt

Repair plan
The technical team suggested that structural changes needed to be made and a 60-m span of the flyover had to be replaced. While the initial plan was to do a temporary repair, after the committee report, a tender was awarded to Nagarjuna Construction Company. Now, the 60-m span on both the carriageways is being replaced with iron beams and a new concrete viaduct and should be completed by April 2018. After that, authorities say, the bridge will be functional for another 30 years minimum.

Also read - Mumbai: Amar Mahal Junction flyover closed due to damage; leads to traffic woes

Here's the alternative
In the meantime, to avoid the ongoing traffic snarls at the flyover, you can use the Wadala freeway towards Chheda Nagar, Kurla Dairy-Santacruz-Chembur Link Road towards Chheda Nagar, Suman Nagar junction to Chembur junction via Mankhurd towards Chheda Nagar, Chembur junction via Govandi towards Chheda Nagar. Motorists can also use the Sion-Dharavi route to LBS Marg in Ghatkopar and head on the Andheri Link Road.

Are experts aligned?

Ravi Sinha 
IIT-B professor, committee member who inspected the bridge
The flyover was constructed based on traffic estimate of that time; there has been a huge increase in traffic (12 tons to 30 tons). Due to this continuous movement, the steel joints of the bridge had got damaged. We inspected the flyover and suggested the best measure was to completely repair both the arms.

A Senior PWD official
The pier and foundation of the flyover will remain as it is, but the super structure (girders) reconstruction tender has already been awarded and work on Thane-bound carriageway has begun. The work of removing the old distress structure is also in progress, and later, the southbound carriageway will be repaired. While the north-bound carriageway is expected to be ready by December 2017, the south-bound would be repaired by April 2018.

1995
Year the flyover was inaugurated

60 m
Stretch of the flyover that needs repairs

4 months
Time the PWD has said it will take for repair

50 yrs
Lifespan of the flyover

Rs 61.5 cr
Cost of the repair being undertaken currently

5 yrs
Guarantee that the builder had taken for the flyover

30 tons
Weight that the bridge, meant for 12 tons, is now carrying

60K
No. of vehicles using it daily when it's operational

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