There's excessive corrosion of rebars, columns, slabs and beams in the 80-year-old bridge in several places. File Pic
Even as we report this, and you read it, vehicles continue to run on the dilapidated Mahalaxmi Station Bridge. But, it turns out, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) can't start its repairs till it figures out how and where it will divert the traffic for that duration.
Civic officials said they are planning to construct two cable-stayed bridges to connect Dr E Moses Road with Dhobi Ghat, and Shirin Theatre with Haji Ali side of Dr E Moses Road for smooth traffic movement. Plans for the proposed bridges have been prepared, and the tendering will start soon. In other words, alternative routes for the dangerous T-Bridge will take at least two years to be ready.
Alternatives before repairs
According to figures available with BMC's bridge department, the Mahalaxmi bridge is used by 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles daily. mid-day had reported on May 8 how its structural audit report had revealed that the bridge is in a dilapidated condition and needs urgent repairs and propping.
An official from the bridge department said, "The plans to construct two cable-stayed bridges are ready. Soon, we will float tenders for appointing a contractor to start the construction. The cost is yet to be finalised as we are coordinating with railway officials."
Chief engineer Kori admitted that the life of the 80-year-old Mahalaxmi bridge ended long back, but they can't undertake the repairs as it will be very difficult to manage the traffic coming from Worli Naka to Jacob Circle and Haji Ali.
"We are speeding up the process of finalising the contractor for the new bridges. It will be completed in a year. After alternative routes are available, we can start the repairs," he said.
Sorry state of affairs
The civic body has asked the Western Railway to prepare a cost estimate of reconstruction of T-Bridge, after which they will pay the amount to the railway authorities to carry out the work.
The structural audit report of Mahalaxmi bridge has raised serious concern over the structure's stability, as at several locations excessive corrosion of rebars, columns, slabs and beams has been observed. Also, on the railway side, all expansion joints are in a bad condition and will need to be replaced.
Repairs on another important British-era bridge, Carnac Bunder, are also pending for the same reason, lack of alternative routes to divert the traffic. While Hancock bridge was demolished last year, and the railways and civic body are yet to start the construction work.