Mumbai's first skywalk falling to pieces

Updated: Jan 02, 2020, 07:26 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

VJTI experts suggest major structural repairs to Bandra skywalk, say all seven of its staircases are dilapidated and must be rebuilt

Bandra skywalk was shut on June 19, 2019 for safety reasons. Pic /Datta Kumbhar
Bandra skywalk was shut on June 19, 2019 for safety reasons. Pic /Datta Kumbhar

Mumbai's first skywalk on the east side of Bandra station needs major structural repairs and reconstruction of all its staircases, VJTI experts have said in a preliminary audit report. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had closed the skywalk in June due to safety reasons. BMC officers have said a decision will be taken on the skywalk after joint site visits and discussions.

The Bandra skywalk connects Bandra station to the Western Express Highway. The BMC had decided to close many foot overbridges and skywalks after the collapse of the Himalaya Bridge at CSMT. Bandra skywalk is one of them. The BMC closed it on June 19. The MMRDA had also cut a 100 metres portion of the skywalk on the highway in April, due to the construction of its flyovers.

'Add steel beams'

The BMC had appointed the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) to give a structural audit report of the skywalk. The preliminary report has been received by the BMC. The VJTI experts have suggested the removal of all concrete slabs of the skywalk. They say the slabs create dead weight on the steel structure. Instead of them, the report suggested adding steel beams by welding to strengthen the skywalk. The report also suggested adding more pillars where the distance between the two pillars is more than 12 metres. As per the report, all the seven staircases of the skywalk are in a dilapidated condition and must be rebuilt.

The experts have suggested the removal of concrete slabs on the skywalk and replacing them with steel beams
The experts have suggested the removal of concrete slabs on the skywalk and replacing them with steel beams

A BMC officer told mid-day, "The steel structure has corroded at many points. How can it take the load of more rods and beams welded to it? It is our main concern and we are discussing it with the experts." The final report is awaited next week and then a decision will be taken. Sources said that the skywalk might not open for commuters before June.

The structure was built by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in 2008 and handed over to the BMC. It is 1.3 km in length, one arm of it goes to Kalanagar via a circuitous route, and another arm connects to Bandra Court via Anant Kanekar Marg. The route over Anant Kanekar Marg helps pedestrians avoid the chaos on the east side of Bandra station. In August this year, the BMC told the Bombay High Court that they were awaiting an audit report from VJTI and would take a decision on repair or reconstruction after they receive it.

MMRDA to be roped in

The BMC will even ask the MMRDA to build the portion on the WEH which was demolished by the authority. "The portion is on the highway and it is very difficult to build it over the continuous traffic. MMRDA dismantled it and as the highway is with them, they can construct and connect it to the existing structure," said an officer from the BMC.

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