A portion of the busy link road, an arterial road that connects Bandra to Borivli, caved in near Kandivli (West) on Monday, leaving a fissure three metres in length and width near Lalji Pada police chowkie.
The incident occurred at 2.30 pm. Nobody was injured.
Officers of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the road caved in because of leaks in the water main that runs under it.
SS Kabre, assistant municipal commissioner of the ward said when the road was dug up the BMC found fresh water inside the pit.
Work on plugging the leak was to begin on Monday night. Officials of the BMC’s hydraulic department visited the site and were trying to locate the leak.
The road, which has among the highest traffic densities in the city, has been closed for vehicles. Motorists using the crowded road are likely to face traffic jams for some time.
“We have ensured the necessary diversions to avoid traffic jams,” Kabre said.
This is the fourth major cave-in this year. The city has been witnessing such incidents frequently because the underground utilities have corroded and developed cracks causing soil under the road to erode. This leads to cavities under the road and eventually to a cave-in.
The BMC has admitted that it does not have the technology to study the condition of the underground utilities and to foresee such incidents.
The link road is a cement concrete road, which is known have a life span of more than 20 years.
The patch that caved in was at a junction from where two other inroads start. The 200-metre stretch was covered with paver blocks.
There are other utilities like storm water drains and sewage line running under the road. BMC officials said the entire stretch will have to be done again after the leak in the water main is plugged.
“The roads department needs co-ordinate more with departments handling sewerage and water supply to know which underground utilities run beneath the roads,” said a member of the Standing Technical Advisory Committee formed by the state government.
“Also, the roads department should take sample bores to test the situation underground before laying new slabs,” he said requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.