Reconstruction of Hancock bridge in Mumbai: Stronger girders to cost Rs 25 crore more

Updated: Feb 04, 2020, 10:21 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

Delays over myriad reasons have been holding up the reconstruction, now IIT-B has advised the use of these girders, taking the cost to Rs 76 crore

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 reconstruction of Hancock bridge doesn't seem to be going smoothly. Now, the project cost has escalated by almost 50% of the original price and the new proposal of increased cost will be tabled before the Standing Committee members today. The civic administration has proposed an increase of about Rs 25 crore from the earlier cost of Rs 51 crore, taking the cost of the project to Rs 76 crore, after the IIT-B has suggested using stronger girders.

Many problems

Built in 1879, the bridge was declared unsafe by Central Railway in 2015, and was subsequently demolished in January 2016. However, the reconstruction project has been delayed due to unending reasons. First, the contractor appointed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had been blacklisted, and then this was under litigation, delaying the project. Then the issue of rehabilitating slum dwellers staying under the bridge caused a delay.

And now that the BMC is almost ready with the launching of girders, it has been asked to place stronger girders.

Advised stronger girders

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay advised the use of stronger girders to the Central Railway. The Railways has intimated the BMC to do so. Due to this technical variation in the design of the project, the cost has escalated to Rs 76 crore.

Earlier, the girders were to weigh about 660 metric tonnes, and now the weight will be 1,374 metric tonnes.

The project is expected to begin by the end of this month, said civic officials. But changing the girders does not seem to be the end of the problems, as the railways has asked for compensation from the BMC, since it will have to change one of its overhead wires that is causing a problem for construction.

"We had already taken general approval for the design and layout of the bridge. But there were technical variations directed by the experts and so the contractor now has to be given an additional amount to get stronger girders," said an officer from the Bridges Department.

Rising cost

Amid the cost variation proposals to be tabled before the Standing Committee on Tuesday, the civic administration has also put forth the reconstruction of the south end portion of the foot overbridge at Charni Road station.

The staircase of the FOB that connected Thakurdwar in Girgaum and Babasaheb Jaykar Marg to the railway station, had collapsed on October 14, 2017, following which it was shut and then pulled down for reconstruction.

Earlier the reconstruction of three other FOBs in Charni Road and the repair of this FOB had been given to a contractor for R8.64 crore. This is now proposed to be revised to Rs 11.50 crore — an increase of Rs 2.85 crore — to reconstruct the FOB over Dr Babasaheb Jaykar Marg.

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