Mumbai: One lane of Vakola bridge to be closed

Updated: 21 December, 2019 09:15 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Traffic going from Kalina to Western Express Highway will be routed through Kalina Military Camp Road and the traffic coming from the WEH side will be routed as usual

Pics/Nimesh Dave
Pics/Nimesh Dave

After much back and forth and doubt, the Mumbai Traffic police is set to take a final call on the closing of the bridge on Hans Bhugra Marg in Vakola. According to sources, cops are planning to shut the bridge's lane used to travel from Kalina to Western Express Highway (WEH) and divert the traffic to Nehru Road and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).

According to traffic police, the lane to be closed was built in the British Era. "The bridge is a combination of two separate sections built over pipelines. The newer one was built by the MMRDA," said a source. "The British Era bridge is dilapidated and needs to be demolished immediately. The other isn't. We do not have any other alternative. The older lane will be closed soon," the source added.

The older British Era lane of the bridge is dilapidated
The older British Era lane of the bridge is dilapidated

Another officer said that they will be suggesting small roads as alternatives. A detailed report on diversions has been sent to the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Madhukar Pande, who told mid-day, "I have signed the final draft of diversions to be used after the closure of the bridge on Hans Bhugra Marg. We will issue a public notification soon."

Demolition is expected to begin immediately after the bridge is closed. Work on extending an elevated SCLR bridge will soon necessitate closing the other lane too. The Hans Bhugra Marg, once neglected by motorists, became significant after the opening of the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR). It connects CST Road to WEH, reducing traffic on the Nehru Road near Kalina Military camp and BKC.

The bridge was declared dilapidated by the municipal corporation in March this year

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), after surveying the bridge in March this year had declared it dangerous. The BMC and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) had wanted to close the bridge on November 23, before and after which, several trials were conducted by the traffic police by diverting traffic to other roads. However, all alternatives resulted in severe traffic jams and the closure was postponed.

Alternative can ease traffic
Kalina residents said one more bridge that connects WEH and Kalina, located behind the Hyatt Hotel, has been shut for over six months. It was declared dangerous after the collapse of the road overbridge at Andheri last year. The bridge, which runs parallel to the pipeline and WEH, used to be a major connector. But, the MMRDA, which began constructing a deck below the dilapidated bridge to safeguard the pipeline, blocked it.

The bridge was declared dilapidated by the municipal corporation in March this year
The bridge was declared dilapidated by the municipal corporation in March this year

"It is a tiny road with two lanes, running parallel to the WEH. But it has been closed as construction material is lying on it," said a traffic police officer on condition of anonymity. "The road has been closed for over six months. If it were to open, it will definitely reduce the burden on Nehru Road," the officer added. An MMRDA official present at the spot said that the work has been on for a few months and that once it is completed, the bridge will be open for traffic.

Nov 23
Day the bridge was supposed to shut

Map/Uday Mohite
Map/Uday Mohite

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First Published: 21 December, 2019 09:00 IST

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