Yet another World Bank-funded project is likely to skip its deadline.
Work on the bridge to be built over the tracks of the Central Railway mainline has come to a standstill as the railways have found faults with the girders to be placed over the railway lines.
This road overbridge (ROB) is part of the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), which connects the eastern express highway to Powai.
The Central Railway has informed the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) that the girders have a ‘bowing effect,’ which means they will sag and subsequently develop cracks.
This could risk the lives of passengers in trains running below or in vehicles plying that stretch of the bridge.
The girders exhibiting the ‘bowing effect’ will have to be replaced or strengthened. This may delay the project further.
MSRDC officials tried to skirt the issue despite repeated efforts.
Joint Managing Director J.T. Nashikkar said he was not aware of the issue as chief engineer Subhash Nage was handling the project. Nage acknowledged that there was a problem but refused to part with details.
The 100-m long, four-lane bridge has become a major bottleneck on the road because the road has eight lanes throughout except for this narrow stretch.
Traffic, thus, queues up in this narrow strip defeating the purpose of the JVLR.
The work on the ambitious JVLR, launched in 2003, is almost complete but the patch above the railway line still remains to be done. The ROB was to be completed in June 2008 but was delayed to December 2008. A senior railway official said there were issues with the design and standard the girders were made of.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) has contracted the work to the MSRDC.
“Work on the bridge above the railway lines is not exactly a part of the JVLR project,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director, MMRDA.
“The JVLR contract does not include the bridge expansion. It is being separately implemented by MSRDC with the help of the railways.”