Temporary bridge not feasible at Hancock site: CR to Bombay HC
Since the bridge was demolished in January this year, there has been a steady rise in pedestrians’ deaths as commuters have no option but to cross the tracks between Sandhurst Road and Byculla stations to reach either sidemumbai Updated: Jun 15, 2016 09:39 IST
The Central Railway (CR) on Tuesday informed the Bombay high court that it was not feasible to construct a temporary foot-over-bridge (FoB) at Sandhurst Road near the now demolished Hancock bridge.
The CR also informed the court that the only option available was to construct a concrete railway bridge, but its construction will take at least two years.
Since the bridge was demolished in January this year, there has been a steady rise in pedestrians’ deaths as commuters have no option but to cross the tracks between Sandhurst Road and Byculla stations to reach either side.
On Tuesday, the counsel for the CR told the court that the railways had conducted a meeting with all stakeholders on June 10 and decided against constructing any temporary FoB at the site since there was a water pipeline running “very close” to the proposed alignment.
The counsel, advocate Suresh Kumar, also said that the railways could not shift the high voltage wires at the site as it will affect rail traffic.
“Besides, if an FoB is to be constructed, we will first need to install or construct columns between railway tracks to anchor the bridge. This will, however, disrupt the functioning of trains and any column between the tracks will hit passengers travelling on the footboard of trains and will lead to casualties,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile, the frequency of buses operating between the two sides to help commuters, the Railways said.
The submissions came while the court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by city resident Kamlakar Shenoy, highlighting the increase in the number of accidents and deaths on tracks since the demolition of the Hancock bridge.
During the last hearing on June 7, a division bench comprising Justice SS Kemkar and MS Karnik had directed the CR to come up with a time-bound plan to construct a temporary FoB as an alternative to the Hancock Bridge.
The British-era Hancock bridge near Sandhurst Road railway station was deemed dangerous by the CR in 2013 and demolished in January this year.
The bridge also provided the only connection for pedestrians between Sandhurst Road and Byculla stations.