The traffic department has taken a written commitment from the MSRDC, which promises that the damaged southbound carriageway would be repaired by May 30; work started last Saturday
The traffic department is pushing the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) hard to complete repair work on the damaged Dindoshi flyover in time. A failure to do so would invite legal action.
Only one lane of the southbound stretch is open, that too for light vehicles. The bottleneck is causing a jam every day. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Confirming the same, B K Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said, “We have taken an undertaking in writing from the MSRDC and the contractor that they will finish repairing the bridge in a month. If they fail to do so, they may have to face legal action.”
Nine slabs of the bridge are being repaired for structural damage
The two agencies have had disagreements over the job, causing a delay in beginning work. After much dithering, the MSRDC started repair work on Saturday. This paper has covered the issue extensively, with repeated reports on how a team of experts from IIT-Bombay had found the southbound patch had developed cracks on nine slabs and that it needed urgent repairs (see box).
Diversions and chaos
Two lanes of the southbound stretch have been shut off. Motorists who travel by the Western Express Highway from the Borivli end towards south Mumbai are already feeling the effects of the closure. mid-day observed that between 9 am and 1 pm, a jam more than a kilometre long had formed.
Vehicles on their way to south Mumbai were packed bumper-to-bumper from the beginning of the bridge, through the bottleneck, and all the way up to Thakur Complex in Kandivli (East). The situation eased after 1 pm.
One lane of the carriageway is open to light vehicles; a lane of the northbound carriageway was also utilised for south-going traffic. Around 40 traffic police officials and 40 private security guards have been deputed to regulate the vehicular flow.
“This situation will prevail till work is completed. While light vehicles ply from the bridge, heavy vehicles have been diverted to the service road below the flyover,” said a traffic police official at the spot, adding, “We appeal to motorists to use S V Road or Link Road to go to south Mumbai.”
Traffic officials are finding it immensely difficult to control two-wheeler traffic, as the vehicles are seen breaking lane discipline. Commuters had experienced a similar situation back in October last year, when one lane of the same patch had been shut off for repair work after the road surface had caved in.
What IIT-B report states
The IIT-B report on the Dindoshi flyover states that there is not one specific reason for the cracks to have appeared on the nine slabs of the southbound stretch. The report states, “It's not possible to pinpoint any specific reason for the crack in the slabs. However, their nature appears to be primarily structural and due to bending of the slabs. The possible reasons may be due to fatigue, overloading and the curved shape of the bridge in the plan and elevation.”
B N Ohol, MSRDC’s superintendent engineer, said, “The repair work has already been started and we will finish it in a month’s time.”
Kunal Jagtap, Borivli resident
It is good that the damaged bridge is being repaired, but I seriously doubt whether the authorities will be able to complete the work by monsoon. It took me more than an hour to get to Dindoshi, which is normally a 15-minute drive. They should work in the night to avoid inconvenience to us.
Aseem Shrivastav, Kandivli resident
More traffic police constables should be deployed so that traffic jams do not occur. The traffic police department should request motorists to use alternate roads like Link Road and SV Road, so that there is less congestion on the Western Express Highway.
Number of workers engaged in repairing the structure
- Inputs by Vedika Chaubey
Meanwhile, encroachers make themselves at home below Dindoshi flyover
The MSRDC has more than just repairing the Dindoshi flyover on its plate. Illegal encroachment is rampant under the flyover. Even as repair work is ongoing above, authorities are yet to take note of the people who are staying below, barely hundred metres from the spot where repair work is on.
More than 50 people have encroached the space below the flyover. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Speaking to this reporter, a traffic police constable posted at the signal below the Dindoshi flyover said, “It’s good that repair work is on. But we don’t understand why these people have not been moved from here. They are staying 100 metres away from the place where repair work is on. They have small children, and there are chances that these kids wander near the work site and an accident may happen.”
This correspondent visited the location and saw many balloon sellers and flower vendors staying there with families. There are more than 50 such people, with young children roaming around. The agency contracted for the repair work has deployed three security guards, but this measure does not ensure that the space would be evacuated.
It should be noted that a resolution passed by the state government in 2009 clearly banned encroachment of spaces below the flyover by humans and parking of vehicles on this space. The urban development department had passed the resolution. A notice board also reiterates this.
B N Ohol, MSRDC’s superintendent engineer, said, “We are aware that there are people who are staying below the flyover, which is illegal. We will move them at the earliest.”