Almost a year after it was first proposed, the reconstruction of the 137-year-old Hancock Bridge, above the Sandhurst road station, is stuck because of lack of coordination between the Central Railway and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
While in the original plan, the railways were to demolish and rebuild the bridge, in December 2015, it was decided the BMC would be responsible for the reconstruction. However, the railways has not approved the proposal for rebuilding, and the BMC is afraid commuters will suffer if there is a gap between the razing and the building of the new bridge, sources said.
The issue was taken up in a recent meeting between the two authorities.
The railways wants the new bridge to be 2.5 metres higher, and also wider than the existing one. This, the BMC, says, will affect private properties near the bridge.
“We are preparing the drawings according to the directions given by the railways, as the project cannot move forward without its approval. Their current directives demand a taller and wider bridge, which can damage private properties. We are working on this,” said SO Kori, chief engineer, bridges department.
Another reason for the delay is that the civic body is yet to come up with an alternative for the existing piers of the bridge, sources said. The railways want the piers to be replaced as they cannot take the load of the new bridge and strengthening them is not feasible.
The BMC has paid Rs 2 crore to the railways to demolish the bridge. However, sources said, the reconstruction will take time, because the new drawings, incorporating the railways’ demands, will take another 15 days to be completed, after which they have to be passed by 22 officials.
The BMC aims at the approvals and the tender process to be complete during the monsoon, so the railways can go ahead with the demolition.
Amitabh Ojha, the divisional railway manager, could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.