The peak hour crush of Mumbai’s suburban train travel is about to get worse, with ongoing work on foot over bridges (FOBs) being accelerated to meet deadlines.
The Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) are set to finish maintenance work and, at some stations, the addition of newer FOBs to meet the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) deadline of 15 skywalks by December-end.
“We’re co-coordinating with both CR and WR and have asked them to expedite work,” said Joint Metropolitan Commissioner Ashwini Bhide.
The one-year-old Bandra (E) skywalk, for instance, carries an average of around 75,000 commuters every day.
The resultant load on the FOB that they then use to get into Bandra station is a matter of concern for the railways, given that the existing FOB, is much older compared to the skywalk.
Another concern is the fact that the width of skywalks is 4 meters, while that of the FOBs that they connect to at some locations is 3 meters, putting pressure on the metal structure.
Still, railway officials believe the FOBs are sturdy enough to take the load.
“Our regular maintenance work is enough to keep these FOBs safe. We will provide additional FOBs wherever necessary,” said WR’s chief public relations officer, S Gupta.
Western Railway is completing work at Borivali, Dahisar, and on the recently constructed additional FOB at Bandra.
Four skywalks at Borivli (W), Chembur, Ghatkopar (W) and Ulhasnagar (W) will open by November-end. Scheduled to open by
December-end are those at Dahisar (E), Virar (W), Vasai (W), Bandra (W) and Vidyavihar (W), Grand Road, Santacruz, Vile Parle (W), Kandivli (E), Kalyan (W) and Bhandup (W).
“The additional FOBs and skywalks will disperse commuter load by nearly 50 per cent,” said S Mudgerikar, chief public relations officer of Central Railway, which is completing FOB work at Ulhasnagar, Thane, Badlapur and Ghatkopar.
Currently, skywalks at Bandra (East), the extension up to Kalanagar, Kanjurmarg, and the partly opened ones at Dahisar (West), Mira Road and Badlapur are functional.
In all, 58 skywalks are expected to start functioning in Mumbai and its metropolitan region by May 2010.