Pillar stands in the way of Milan subway overbridge

With work virtually complete, another roadblock has appeared in the way of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) from throwing open the Milan subway rail overbridge (ROB) to commuters, who currently have to bite the bullet and deal with grating traffic snarls on the stretch.

Milan subway
In the worst way: At the moment the Milan subway stretch is a nightmare for motorists during peak hours. File pic

Railways have instructed the authority to construct one more pillar between the tracks to prop up the overbridge, failing which a go-ahead will not be granted.

However, sources in MMRDA told MiD DAY constructing another column is not possible as various public utilities stand in the way.

“Earlier, we were confident that the Milan ROB will become operational by October. But now there are chances that the opening would be delayed further as Western Railway (WR) has requested us to construct one more pillar between the tracks to give additional stability to the ROB,” MMRDA joint project director Dilip Kawathkar said.

Practical problems
“We will write to WR and explain that constructing the column is not possible as there are various utilities present. The previous clearance from the railways to the design of the ROB was given by keeping all safety aspects in mind. Therefore, they should grant us permission to carry forward the work so the bridge can become operational at the earliest,” an MMRDA source said.

It should be noted that MMRDA has already completed the entire work of the construction of pillars and only the laying of tar coating on the ROB remains.

As per MMRDA’s deadline, the bridge was to be thrown open to public in June. But at the eleventh hour, WR told MMRDA it should use the metal galvanising technique for coating the nine girders that are placed between railway tracks, sources said. “Because of this we have to place a new order for girders, which will have a different anti-corrosion technique than the one we were using earlier,” said another MMRDA official.

Matter of time
At present, it takes around an hour to cross the subway during gridlock, but the delay in completing the flyover will literally push the commuters knee-deep in trouble in the rainy season. Officials say the project promises to cut down commuting time to barely four minutes.

On the other hand, a WR official, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “MMRDA should have ensured that the technical details were taken care of in the initial phases itself. Then we wouldn’t have had to point out this change.”

MMRDA started constructing the 700-m bridge at an estimated cost of Rs 41.50 crore in 2008, and the original deadline of the project was June 2010. Since then, there have been several impediments such as rehabilitation and resettlement of project-affected persons, permission from railways, political pressure, and absence of labourers after Raj Thackeray’s campaign against north Indians and so on.

Work on the overbridge started in January 2008

1st deadline: June 2010
2nd deadline: March 2011
3rd deadline: October 2011
4th deadline: May 2012
5th deadline: October 2012 

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