Just when motorists were eagerly looking forward to the opening of the new Kapurbawdi flyover, cracks were noticed on a slab.
The Rs 197-crore Kapurbawdi flyover has five arms, out of which, four have been opened to the public. The 2.2km fifth arm and the longest among the five, connecting Ghodbunder to Mumbai, was almost ready but cracks were noticed last week.
The long winding arm starts from Ghodbunder, crosses Majiwada junction towards Nashik highway, goes in a loop before connecting the old Mumbai-Nashik highway.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which is funding the entire flyover project, observed cracks on the Ghodbunder- Mumbai arm of the flyover just before it joins the old Mumbai-Nashik bridge.
It had to demolish a major part of the flyover and start building it again.
An MSRDC official requesting anonymity said: “Last week, we noticed that the slab had developed cracks. We are also surprised how a concrete slab can develop cracks. We will have to demolish the portion and re-cast it again. The demolition will take a week while re-casting will take nearly one and a half months.”
The flyover will take another three to four months to be ready for use --- it has already been delayed by five years.
The MSRDC blamed NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad, who had tried to forcefully open the flyover on November 25. Vehicles had plied on the incomplete flyover for 10 minutes.
“We had not finished the bitumen work on the slab and two expansion joints were not fixed. The movement of vehicles must have led to the cracks. We have asked the contractor to repair it without charging extra,” the official added.
Awhad said the allegations were baseless. “The MSRDC should first blacklist the contractor if the bridge is cracking when vehicles ply on it for 5 to 10 minutes. They should check the entire bridge for stability to avoid any major accident in future,” said the Thane MLA.
Shiv Sena MP, Rajan Vichare, also alleged that the work on the flyover is substandard.
He added: “The bridge developed cracks before opening. This shows the quality of work done on this bridge. The work was done during the Congress-NCP government. There could have being an accident if the bridge would have being opened for people. We demand that there should be an inquiry into the entire work done and file criminal charges against the guilty.”
The commuters however are enraged over the delay. Ravi Iyer, a resident of Ghodbunder said, “The bridge is simply trying our patience. The work is going on for ages and thus when we read that the bridge is in its final stages something like this has to come up. The MSRDC should be answerable to the people as to why the cracks were developed on a new flyover.”