Mumbai Rains: Andheri pedestrian pathway falls under weight of utility wires

Jul 04, 2018, 09:45 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Passing the buck, BMC officials say railway counterparts never allow them inside for inspections, leading to such incidents

Mumbai Rains: Andheri pedestrian pathway falls under weight of utility wires
Railways says the bridge was not built to bear the load of utility cables, hidden under another heavy layer of paver blocks. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Rumblings of the ill-health of the Gokhale over bridge had been going on long before a portion of it collapsed on Tuesday. For a change, it is not entirely the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) fault, the Railways, that had declared the bridge fit last year, are also to blame. Both agencies have delayed much-needed repairs on the bridge.

The bridge is maintained by both the BMC and the Railways. While the collapsed portion is the Railways's responsibility, for which BMC pays them, the civic body takes care of the remaining part. According to civic officials, the bridge (which is BMC's responsibility) had become weak and major repairs were planned about two to three years ago after a visual inspection.

Soon after the collapse, a crowd gathered around the site. Pic/Sameer Markande
Soon after the collapse, a crowd gathered around the site. Pic/Sameer Markande

No permission
However, they never ended up getting permission from the traffic police department to carry out those repairs. The permit was needed as BMC had to replace its girders with technologically advanced ones and also repair the rusty expansion joints, but the bridge would have to be shut for carrying out this work, which would affect the traffic majorly. In addition to this, the railways had declared the bridge fit last year after its annual audit. The Railways's part of the bridge was last repaired eight years ago, at a cost of R23 lakh, which was paid for by the BMC.

Will repair now
BMC officials agreed the bridge had become weak over a period of time and needed major repairs. A senior official of BMC's bridges department who was present at the spot said, "The part which collapsed doesn't fall under our jurisdiction. However, we will be looking at the repair of the remaining part of the bridge as it has been pending for a while now. It is a very old bridge and through visual inspection, we've noticed that it needs extensive repairs. This work will now be taken up as a priority."

S O Kori, the chief engineer of the bridges department said, "We will be now checking the status of the entire Gokhale bridge again and take appropriate steps for its repairs."

Also read: Andheri bridge collapse: Motorman saves hundreds from getting crushed

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