Planning on taking a road-trip to Gujarat anytime soon? You will have to wait for four days, as the 47-year-old Versova bridge on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway will officially open on May 20.
The bridge, which links Mumbai to Gujarat, New Delhi and other major cities, is currently undergoing repairs, for which it was shut from May 14, said an official of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
Acting on the traffic police’s orders, heavy vehicles are currently using Ghodbunder Road to enter and exit Mumbai to ease the load on the bridge.
The bridge will undergo tests to ascertain how much load it can bear. Its cement structure will be cured and a report will then be submitted to the state government. “After we get clearances from the state and the traffic department, the Thane rural police will open the bridge for normal traffic,” said the official.
The bridge was constructed by IRB on a build, operate and transfer basis. The firm is set to pay for the repairs and will submit its bill to the NHAI later, said an official. IRB has not yet estimated how much the repair work will cost.
According to NHAI figures, around 50,000 vehicles use the 49-metre bridge built over the Versova creek daily.
The bridge closed for heavy traffic on September 15, 2016 after horizontal cracks developed on a girder. Since then, repair work has been going on at a snail’s pace, said sources. Acting on a public interest litigation filed by two activists from Vasai, the Bombay high court rapped the state government. Following this, repair work picked up pace.
Motorists currently use the two-lane south-bound part of the bridge. A motorist has to wait for about 35 minutes in each direction to cross the bridge owing to traffic and a speed limit of 20 kmph.