Uddhav Sena takes fight to CM’s home ground, allege crucial lanes of Kopri flyover on Eastern Express Highway has been forcefully kept shut despite being ready just so that it can be inaugurated by Eknath Shinde on his birthday tomorrow
An aerial view of Kopri rail overbridge which shows the banners congratulating CM Eknath Shinde (right) on his birthday, as seen on Tuesday. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Kopri rail overbridge, an important Thane-Mumbai connector, is set to be opened for traffic on February 9, which is also Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s birthday. The Opposition claimed that the bridge has been ready for the past 15 days but the inauguration was stalled so the CM could cut the ribbon on his birthday. When asked, MMRDA chief S V R Srinivas denied the allegation and said some minor work was pending. But when mid-day visited the bridge on Tuesday, the bridge seemed ready even though there were a few workers. There were also scores of banners erected along the median congratulating the CM.
The Kopri ROB, which falls on the Eastern Express Highway, was taken up for widening from four-lanes to eight-lanes in 2018. The work was carried out in two phases with the first phase completed and opened for traffic in October 2021. The work on the second phase was on and was set to be complete by January 2023. The MMRDA, which is carrying out the work, has now set the inauguration date on February 9 which coincides with the birthday of CM Shinde, who has strong roots in Thane.
Leaders from the Shiv Sena (UBT) have, however, claimed that the bridge has been ready for the past two weeks. Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Ghadigaonkar said, “This bridge has been ready since the last 15 days but it has not been opened yet even as Mumbaikars and Thanekars continue to struggle with traffic congestion here since the past four years. There is no need for a minister to inaugurate a bridge if it’s ready as it is in the interest of the people. The Shinde government has not done a single work yet, but still wants credit.”
“Earlier, the MMRDA had put a board about the work schedule on the bridge, which has been removed. This means the bridge is ready, and hence it should be opened immediately for the convenience of the people.” he added.
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Meanwhile, MNS leader Avinash Jadhav from Thane said, “It was our party which had informed the Thane civic body about cracks in the old Kopri bridge in 2017 and got the authority to shut it down and construct a new one. I will visit the bridge on Wednesday to check the status. If it is found to be ready, we will open it in our style, without waiting for an official inauguration.”
Thane resident Swapnil Mahindrakar said, “If Kopri bridge is ready, then why are they keeping it shut? I heard it will be opened for traffic on CM’s birthday. I am just glad that it won’t be delayed any further.” MMRDA Metropolitan Commissioner S V R Srinivas said, “We are going to open the bridge on February 9 as some minor work is still pending.”
Kopri rail overbridge, which falls on Eastern Express Highway, has been widened to eight lanes from the earlier four. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Asked about the allegations levelled by opposition leaders, he said, “These are false allegations. Around 20-30 of our workers are working on the bridge. We will complete the work in one or two days.” mid-day tried to contact the CM’s office, but it did not get a response.
Year when Kopri ROB widening work began
Month when 1st phase of ROB widening ended