WR waits for Metro to 'bridge' the gap

A steel bridge lunges forward, dangling disconcertingly on either side of the tracks at Andheri railway station. The 183-metre long structure — part of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro corridor — when completed, would transverse the tracks. However, precious little has happened in the past few months. Only two days ago, officials from Western Railway (WR) visited Andheri station to review the project that has been progressing slowly.

Steel-born: Metro rail work ongoing near Andheri (East) railway station.  File pic

Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), which is constructing the city’s first Metro line on the 11.07-km VAG corridor, reportedly hasn’t got up and running even after procuring permission from WR authorities for constructing this steel structure, modelled on the lines of the iconic Howrah Bridge (‘Howrah Bridge’ coming soon to Andheri’, Feb 6, MiD DAY).

WR officials claim that unless MMOPL gets all the girders and concrete spans next to the railway tracks, there is no point in allowing it to start work by carrying out mega blocks. “They need to first complete work outside the station premises. Only then work over the tracks will begin,” said a senior WR official.

Point blank
If you pass by the area right now, you’ll observe a pillar built right between two tracks near Andheri railway station. Next to it, is a foot over bridge (FOB) infested by hawkers, even as people struggle to walk. While on the east end of Andheri station, two pillars stand tall close to the tracks, on the west end pillars are at some distance from the railway lines, rimmed by shops.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) that is the nodal agency monitoring this Rs 2,356-crore VAG corridor project stated that it is expecting the last lap of work to begin soon. “We envisage the spans to reach the site in the next few days. Work will then begin above railway tracks,” said MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana.

Biding time?
Sources in MMRDA acknowledged there has been delay in completion of work, though authorisation from railways had come long back. “We have given all the permissions and whenever they require the blocks, we are ready to provide them,” said S Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway.
As per the particulars, WR has authorised a four-hour block for a period of 91 days, during which the steel bridge will be built above the tracks.

Did you know?
As per the particulars, the Western Railway (WR) has authorised a four-hour block
for a period of 91 days, during which the steel bridge will be built above the tracks

VAG details
>> Distance: 11.4 km
>> Deadline: March 2013
>> Spans above tracks: 3 of 81 metres each
>> Capacity: 45,000 passengers per peak hour in one direction
>> Ticket cost: Rs 7 to Rs 12 (fares will be revised every four years) 

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