Build Hancock bridge with an eye on the future

Updated: Feb 05, 2020, 07:27 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Built in 1879, the bridge was declared unsafe by Central Railway in 2015, and was subsequently demolished in January 2016.

The girders were to weigh about 660 metric tonnes, now the weight will be 1,374 metric tonnes. File pic
The girders were to weigh about 660 metric tonnes, now the weight will be 1,374 metric tonnes. File pic

The Hancock bridge continues to be in the news, not for all the right reasons. Now reports say that the project cost has escalated by almost 50 per cent of the original price.

The civic administration has proposed an increase of about Rs 25 crore from the earlier cost of R51 crore, taking the cost of the project to R76 crore, after the IIT Bombay suggested using stronger girders.

Built in 1879, the bridge was declared unsafe by Central Railway in 2015, and was subsequently demolished in January 2016.

The focus must be on all-round research and good, watertight groundwork before the re-building of this bridge. Delays have taken place on one ground or the other.

Commuters have endured hardships because the rebuilding has been continually deferred — first because the contractor appointed by the BMC was blacklisted and then, litigation.
The former must be investigated as it is unfathomable why a blacklisted contractor was appointed in the first place.

If one were to blacklist contractors and look the other way when work on infra has to begin, the question that arises is — why have blacklists at all?

The blacklist bogey plagues projects across the city. An extensive investigation must take place about why things are falling through the cracks.

Yet, one would go with the logic that if more time is needed to make this new bridge safer, then let the committee take its time, weigh all its options and suggestions, and go with the safest one.

The cost may spiral as it has, but there cannot be any compromise on commuter safety. If stronger girders are your best bet then a strong facility taking into account successive loads as the city grows should be top of the charts. The new Hancock bridge should be one built with an eye for the future.

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