Mumbai: 21 piers block Rs 24,000 crore Metro project

When the BMC erected 21 steel and concrete structures for the construction of the Sion-Dharavi-Mahim bridge, little did they realise that the piers would cross the path of the underground Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro line III. The other downside? The civic body does not have the technology to remove them and is looking at foreign agencies for assistance

The upcoming Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro line III seems to have posed a couple of problems for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The 21 piers it had constructed on the Dharavi nullah for the Sion-Mahim-Dharavi bridge, comes in the way of the Rs 24,000 crore project and the civic body has been asked by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to remove them.

Bridge the gap: Once the BMC manages to demolish the piers, it will have to hunt for another agency to help reconstruct the bridge. Hardly 300 metres long, it will be constructed in four phases. pics/Shadab Khan
Bridge the gap: Once the BMC manages to demolish the piers, it will have to hunt for another agency to help reconstruct the bridge. Hardly 300 metres long, it will be constructed in four phases. pics/Shadab Khan

However, the BMC has neither the expertise, nor the technology to remove them. It should be noted that the Sion-Mahim-Dharavi bridge had collapsed in 2011. The plan for the reconstruction of the bridge was approved in 2013 and work started in January this year.

However, work came to a halt in April as the Bridge department was informed that the desilting work had to be carried out on the nullah. Work on the same had to start in October, but the MMRDA’s proposal of Metro line III station underneath the bridge, again stalled the work.

Obstacles galore
The BMC is now looking at foreign agencies to help demolish the piers, as they do not have the technology to remove the piers lodged inside the rocks. After that, they have to hunt for another agency to help reconstruct the bridge. The bridge, which is hardly 300 meters long, will be worked on in four phases and the MMRDA has asked them to finish the work in 18 months.

The BMC has been asked to remove the piers it constructed at Mahim Dharavi Bridge
The BMC has been asked to remove the piers it constructed at Mahim Dharavi Bridge

Confirming the same, SA Kori, chief engineer of Bridge department, said, “We were informed about MMRDA’s plans for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro line III last month and we are trying to come up with a solution for the piers since then. We are now planning to hire an expert company to do the same for us, after which the reconstruction work will begin. The budget to shift the piers will be funded by the MMRDA.”

Sanjay Sethi, Chairman and Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) told sunday mid-day, “The metro station is definitely coming under the Mahim Dharavi bridge, but I cannot comment on other details yet.”

Expert speak
Sudhir Badami, transport analyst and expert, told sunday mid-day, “The bridge existed earlier and the piers are there now. The Metro line III, however, is still on paper and the changes in the alignment of the metro station by a few metres should not be a problem for a R24000 crore worth project. The two agencies need to sit together and work towards a solution.”

Colaba-Seepz-Metro III
The 32.5-km-long underground project is expected to carry 39,000 commuters per hour per direction (13.9 Lakh commuters daily) in 2021 and 42,000 commuters per hour per direction (17 Lakh commuters daily) in the year 2031. The 27 stations on the Colaba-SEEPZ Metro corridor are Cuffe Parade, Vidhan Bhavan, Churchgate, Hutatma Chowk, CST Metro, Kalbadevi, Girgaon, Grant Road, Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi Metro, Science Museum, Acharya Atre Chowk, Worli, Siddhi Vinayak, Dadar Metro, Shitaladevi Temple, Dharavi, BKC Metro, Vidya Nagari, Santacruz, Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport (Domestic), Sahar Road, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Marol Naka, MIDC, SEEPZ and Aarey Colony.

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