Mumbai: Gokhale Railway flyover at Andheri reaches milestone with first girder installation
In a significant leap forward for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) infrastructure endeavors, the first girder of the Gokhale Railway Flyover in Andheri has been successfully installed. The project, hailed as the fastest in BMC's history, faced several technical challenges that have now been overcome, marking a crucial step towards opening the first phase of traffic between Andheri East and West.
MLA Amit Satam said that the installation of the first girder, which took place between midnight on December 2, 2023, and the early morning of December 3, 2023, was a pivotal moment. The ambitious project aims to open one lane of the Gokhale Bridge by February 15, 2024, reflecting the efficiency and dedication of the BMC's well-planned bridge department, BMC said in a statement.
The installation of girders for the Gokhale Bridge is a challenging engineering task, conducted under the technical supervision of Western Railway Administration and May. Rights Ltd. Despite the complexities, the first phase girder installation was successfully completed within the railway area, achieving 75 percent of the planned distance, it added.
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Satam emphasized the "relentless efforts made by the BMC's Bridge Department to expedite the project, overcoming challenges to ensure swift progress within a record time frame". Deputy Commissioner (Infrastructure) Ulhas Mahale highlighted that the girder would be moved north in the coming days and then gradually lowered, presenting a technically challenging yet meticulously planned process.
Chief Engineer (Pools) Vivek Kalyankar underscored the unique nature of the project, being the first in India to lower a girder from a height of 7.5 meters in a bridge work within the railway area, emphasizing the paramount importance of security measures.
The girder, with a weight of approximately 1200 MT, a length of 90 meters, and a width of 13.5 meters, is a critical component in the first phase of the railway terrain. Following the connection of spare parts, the girder installation aligns with the rules set by the Railway Authority to ensure the quality and standard of the work.
The Gokhale Bridge project involves the installation of two girders, each weighing around 1275 tonnes, connecting Andheri East and West. Fabrication of girder parts is undertaken in Ambala, and the members are assembled on a temporary structure on the east side of the railway track at a height of about 13-14 meters.
The Western Railway Administration, having demolished the old bridge, handed over the project site to the BMC on March 28, 2023. Reconstruction work commenced on April 1, 2023, and the current achievement reflects a major milestone in the overall progress of the project, the BMC statement said.
The meticulous process of erecting the girder on the railway track, sliding it to the north, and lowering it by 7.5 meters involves highly skilled work under the guidance of consulting firm Wrights. Due to the complexity and risk involved, the responsibility for this work has been entrusted to Rights, a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Railways.
The project's uniqueness lies in lowering a girder weighing around 1300 tonnes from a height of 7.5 meters, a first-of-its-kind endeavor in India. While the process adheres to railway safety norms, the engineering challenge requires careful implementation of technology, with each one-hour block allowing for an average lowering of only 15 cm.
As the project progresses, approximately 80 percent of the approach road work within the BMC's limits has been completed through another contractor. The completion of the first phase of the Gokhale bridge is anticipated by February 15, 2024, allowing for the partial opening of traffic.
Both the BMC and the Railway Administration have affirmed their commitment to the safety of the Gokhale Bridge, with a joint declaration emphasizing that there will be no compromise on safety measures throughout the various phases of the project. The anticipated opening of one-way traffic by February 15, 2024, is contingent upon the completion of all required works for the bridge.