Mumbai's first bow-shaped bridge awaits tree experts
The project, which will connect internal areas in Versova and Lokhandwala in Andheri, needs the specialists as mandated by the high court, which says their involvement is needed if over 25 trees are to be cut
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wants to construct a bow-shaped bridge with bow-stringed girders (pillars) for the first time in the city, to connect internal areas of Versova to Lokhandwala in Andheri west. But its construction hinges on the nomination of experts to the Tree Authority-appointed committee. The project awaits not just an NOC from the Forest Department as mangroves will be chopped, but also experts on the Tree Authority-appointed committee, as over 25 trees will also be cut.
Waiting for experts
The construction will start after the chopping of about 74 trees is approved by the Tree Authority-appointed committee. After the Bombay High Court restricted the committee from granting permissions to cut over 25 trees without appointing experts, the BMC has called for Expression of Interest (EOI) to invite applications from interested experts to be part of this committee. Once the experts are appointed the proposal can be approved and the project will take off. The BMC has been waiting for the Forest Department's No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the past six months to start work on the 350 metres-long bridge at Andheri West that will be constructed for R33.71 crore. The bridge is considered to be the need of the hour for the residents of Andheri. It will reduce travel time from Yari Road to Lokhandwala to almost 5 minutes from the current 20 minutes.
'Will plant more mangroves'
While there are about 25 to 30 mangrove trees which will be destroyed, the BMC has already informed the Mangroves Cell it will plant five times more, said civic officials. However, as the area over which the bridge is planned falls under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department, their NOC will be crucial, said Bridge Department officials.
"Local Member of Legislative Assembly Bharati Lavekar has intervened and helped the BMC procure the mandatory permissions from the Collector's office. Now just a formal approval letter from the Nagpur Forest Department is pending, which we are expecting next week. The bridge will be bow-shaped and it will be the first time such a design will be constructed in the city," said a senior civic official from the Bridge Department. All Maharashtra forest related permissions come from the Nagpur Forest Department.
"The plan for the bridge was followed up by Lavekar with the state government. We also did the ground-breaking ceremony, and once experts are nominated to the Tree Authority-appointed committee, the work will begin immediately. The residents of Yari Road and Versova currently have to take a longer route to get to Link Road," said BJP Corporator and K West ward committee Chairman, Yogiraj Dabhadkar.
The cost of constructing the bridge
Water activist Amla Ruia speaks to mid-day