A day after the Mahad bridge collapse, the 153-year-old British-era Old Kalwa Bridge was closed down for traffic at midnight on Wednesday by the Thane traffic police. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) said the bridge will be closed for both light and heavy vehicles because its foundation is weak.
The Old Kalwa bridge was constructed in 1863.
Sandeep Palave, deputy commissioner of traffic said, “The structural audit of the bridge was done in 2010, which declared that the bridge was dangerous for heavy vehicles. After this audit, there was no audit in the past six years. We had permitted only two- and three-wheelers on the bridge all these years.”
Only pedestrians are allowed to use this bridge.
The traffic department has asked the TMC to conduct a fresh audit of the bridge. Palave said the decision to reopen the bridge for light vehicles will be taken depending on a fresh audit report.
The TMC, however, claimed there is no need of an audit as the bridge is already in a dangerous situation. Ratan Awsarmol, city engineer of TMC, said, “A year ago, we did a fresh audit that said the bridge is dangerous for commute and conveyed it to the traffic department. The foundation of the bridge is weak and it can’t be repaired. But as it is a heritage structure, we cannot demolish it.”
Closing the bridge will increase congestion on the new Kalwa Bridge by 30%, the traffic department said.
Work on a third bridge is in progress, which will ease the load on the existing bridge.