Mumbai: A disaster waiting to happen at Dombivli station

Updated: Oct 08, 2019, 07:31 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Rusting remains of dilapidated bridge pose threat to commuter safety at the busy Dombivli station

The precariously standing rusted bridge at Dombivli station
The precariously standing rusted bridge at Dombivli station

The remains of a partially demolished bridge running across the breadth of Dombivli station pose a risk to commuters and trains, six months after it was shut. Despite the real threat the rusting skeleton poses to commuter safety, authorities have not pulled it down, saying work will mean the temporary shutting of all six lines.

According to Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) statistics, Dombivli is among the city's busiest stations, seeing up to 50,000 commuters each during morning and evening peak hours.

This bridge is the latest among many such dangerous structures littered across the country' most saturated suburban network, including Kurla, Vidyavihar, Thane and Kalyan.

DombivaliPic/ Rajendra Aklekar

"The bridge is rusted and in a bad shape with six railway lines pass below it," said Satej Joshi, a regular commuter. "The authorities should get it removed ASAP. The skywalk connectivity has been lost and they need to build a new bridge as early as possible as this bridge was a crucial link."

The shutting down of the bridge has also led to complaints that commuters are being forced to trespass at the north end of the station.

Dombivali
The Railways has said it will demolish the bridge once the monsoon has completely withdrawn. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

"The bridge had been shut, but there is no sign of demolition, let alone a new bridge," said a popular local social media user who goes by the handle Amhi Dombivlikar.
Mandar Abhyankar, another regular commuter who runs a train updates group, said it is important that a new bridge is built quickly.

"No one knows why the remains of the old dilapidated bridge are still up and there seems to be no plan for a new bridge," he said.

Dombivali
Pic/Rajesh Gupta

"If it takes six months for the railways to bring down the remains of a dilapidated and rusted bridge, when will the new one come up? [Rail Minister Piyush] Goyal should give out this bridge also to the army [like the one at Elphinstone] if the railways are unable to do it."

Officials, however, claimed that the dangerous portions of the bridge has been brought down and to cut open the girders now would require stopping traffic on all six lines, which is a logistical nightmare.

DombivaliPic/Rajesh Gupta

"To dismantle and remove the remaining girders, traffic needs to be completely blocked for four to six hours," said an officer.

Central Railway's senior Public Relations Officer Anil Kumar Jain said no major work is undertaken during the monsoon.

"Work will be undertaken once the monsoon completely withdraws and a new bridge will be built at its site," he said.

In October 2009, concrete girders of an under-construction bridge and a water pipeline crashed on a suburban train running at 40 km/h, killing the motorman and a commuter and injuring 11. More recently, the corroded footpath of Andheri's Gokhale Road bridge collapsed in June 2018, killing two and injuring five people.

50k
No. of daily commuters at Dombivli station

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