The successful placement of India’s longest girder above rail tracks will speed up the completion of a crucial east-west connector at Vidyavihar
The girder is placed at Vidyavihar station. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
The 32-year-old dream of establishing east-west connectivity in Vidyavihar registered a major milestone on Saturday night, with the BMC installing the nation’s longest girder on the railway track. The bridge is expected to be ready by May 2024, officials said on Sunday. Mid-Day witnessed the work, which was undertaken within three hours on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.
Workers launched the girder above railway lives at Vidyavihar station, post midnight, on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Central Railway had announced a mega block between 1.20 am and 4.20 am on Sunday, and the BMC started the work. The girder crossed seven railway tracks and reached a temporary pillar that was erected on a platform. The railway traffic started after the basic safety inspection of the girder was done. “The girder is 99.34 meters in length, 9.50 meters in width and weighs 1,100 metric tons. This is the longest girder without pillars that the BMC has launched. This is an engineering marvel,” said a civic official.
‘Second girder soon’
“Another girder will be launched soon. We are working on a war footing. The work will be completed by May 2024. We have completed the most challenging task of the project. This bridge will help to reduce traffic congestion of the Ghatkopar east-west connector and Chembur Santacruz Link Road,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ulhas Mahale.
Sanjay Kaundanyapure, chief engineer of the bridges department in BMC, along with his colleagues observed the work. The second girder is expected to be installed two months later. BJP MP from Mumbai North East Manoj Kotak, who was at the site, said, “This bridge was a long-pending demand of the public. The work picked up pace in the past two-and-a-half-year.” Ashish Zatakia, a local resident who had come to witness the work, said, “This bridge will benefit the local people, who had to travel via Ghatkopar just to cross over from west to east or east to west in Vidyavihar.”
According to the records, this connectivity was marked in the 1991 development plan of the BMC. The civic body prepared a plan for the bridge in 2016 and the construction work started in 2018. As per the plan, the work was supposed to be complete by 2022. “The work, however, got delayed due to various technical issues,” said an official. The total cost of building the 650-meter-long bridge was R178 crore. It would have four lanes, with a 2-meter-wide footpath in the railway portion and a 1-meter-wide footpath at the approach road.
According to civic officials, there are several challenges in the work, like shifting of the ticket booking office, removal of encroachment and widening of a major nullah and a storm water drain. Also, the Railways has suggested changes in the bridge design and the BMC has decided to increase the length of the approach road.
Time it took the civic body to install the girder
When BMC expects to complete the work