The impending Santacruz-Chembur Link Road project that’s expected to radically reduce travel time between the city’s western suburbs and Navi Mumbai is causing some serious labour pain to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the railways, and now train commuters, ahead of its birthing. Construction of the last and most important leg of over the tracks on Kurla-Vidyavihar stretch could entail a relentless bout of mega blocks in the next four months, which might lead to delays and cancellations of train services on the main line.
MSRDC has asked CR for around 40-45 blocks for launching of girders in the days to come. Work on SCLR, which has been going on since 2003, is expected to be complete by June 2013. So, the road development authority wants a specific time period during which girders can be launched connecting two pillars that would cover six rail tracks. One span of this steel bridge will be of 52 metres and the other 20 metres in length.
The final and most significant hurdle for completion of the east-west connectivity lies at Kurla above the railway tracks. The steel bridge to be constructed here would go right from the Harbour line at Tilak Nagar via Kurla above the tracks and join the pillar inside the car shed where trains are parked at night and also undergo maintenance. “We have informed CR that we will require around 40-45 blocks in order to complete the work,” said S Nage, chief engineer, MSRDC.
MSRDC and railways have finally decided to go for steel girders like the ones used in bridges over Ganga and Brahmaputra, after several drawings and blueprints were discarded. The plan previously was to have two sections of 36 metres each for a cement-concrete structure. Sources in CR said that they are still discussing the dates for launching these girders, which would finally lead to completion of the six-lane east-west bridge.
“We are holding talks with MSRDC over the blocks demanded by them. We will decide in our internal meetings whether so many blocks are required or not,” said a senior Central Railway official. CR will also inform the Commissioner of Railway Safety, as the move is likely to affect rail commuters at large.
Earlier, in the first week of December, the agencies completed a similar exercise for SCLR near Tilak Nagar railway station on the Harbour line. Five steel girders weighing 40 tonnes each were positioned on the under-construction flyover between Kurla and Tilak Nagar railway stations in a span. A huge crane with a lifting capacity of over 300 tonnes was used for the job. During this time several train services were stopped on the Harbour line.
About 20 days ago there was acute trouble on Central Railway after the authorities carried out major work of shifting the route relay interlocking and testing of 25,000-volt power supply at Thane. Nearly 600 services were cancelled in a period of 5-6 days and several services ran late. Also, many commuters fell from trains because of overcrowding.
CR officials had then said that they wouldn’t operate train services henceforth during implementation of similar important works and mega blocks. Sources said that of these 45 blocks at least 4-5 would require complete shutdown of train services near Kurla, especially while girder launching.