Kalyan skywalk to be closed for repairs
Soon, four arms of the Kalyan (West) skywalk will be closed for repair works as its staircases has been declared unsafe by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) after a detailed audit.
A detailed audit report of the Kalyan skywalk’s western side reveals that out of the nine staircases, four of them are unsafe and need repair. Out of the four, two are extremely unsafe and need to be repaired immediately.
Commuters who use the four skywalks connecting Mahatma Phule Chowk, Vallipeer Road, Oak Baug and one leading to Mohammad Ali Chowk, will have to walk through the busy station road to reach Kalyan railway station till they are repaired.
“There are four staircases which are in an unsafe condition. Two of them are extremely unsafe and we will prioritise the repair work on it. The tender process has already begun. The staircases will be closed for the repair and replacement works soon,” said Sapna Koli, city engineer, Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC).
“We expect to complete the works in three months after starting it,” she added.
All the four staircases are crowded during peak hours. As per the civic body, this is the first detailed audit since the skywalk was built. The need for the audit came after portions of the skywalk fell in the past two to three years.
In July 2019, portions of the fibre sheets of the skywalk at Kalyan station at Borgaonkar Wadi fell. The fibre sheets at the bottom of the skywalk fell due to heaps of waste dumped on it by hawkers occupying the skywalk. No one was injured in the incident.
The IIT-B report also suggests the civic body to maintain cleanliness on the skywalk.
“We will send a notice to the ward officer to maintain complete cleanliness on the skywalk on a regular basis by sweeping it and also regularly picking waste if dumped on it. They have even asked to paint the skywalk which will also be done soon,” added Koli.
The audit also asked for other repairs of broken railings and missing tiles of the railings. The month-long audit was conducted by the IIT-Bombay in May 2019. Stretches of the skywalk were closed for the audit.
“I take the skywalk daily from Mahatma Phule Chowk to avoid the station road as one can hardly walk with autorickshaws and bus parked on it. The stairs were in extreme bad condition and one could easily fall while walking. The only expectation is the work should not get delayed,” said Pooja Sawant, 29, who takes the skywalk daily to reach Kalyan station.
In the past, the skywalk in Kalyan (West) has caught fire, its portions have collapsed and in one case a visually challenged man fell off the skywalk because the railings are missing. Engineers from IIT-B checked all parts of the skywalk including its railings, floor and roof.
The skywalk in Kalyan (West) was built in 2009 by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to decongest the station road and help commuters walk safely out of the station.
It was opened to the public in 2011.
A total of ₹60 crore was spent for the 1.67-km-long and 4 to 7 metre wide skywalk. In 2014, it was transferred to the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) and it was the civic body’s responsibility to look after its upkeep.
The civic body had spent ₹14 lakh for the audit. In November 2018, the civic body had taken up the work of repairing the missing railings and broken tiles of the skywalk by spending ₹15 lakh.
As per the civic body, around 2 lakh of around 6 lakh of the commuters at Kalyan station rely on the skywalk to either reach the station or come out of the station.
“I take the skywalk near the Deepak Hotel and it helps me avoid the lane below the skywalk which has autorickshaws parked haphazardly and even other vehicles plying with hardly any space for one to walk. Recently the skywalk was made free of hawkers, making it more convenient for one to walk,”said Madhav Patil, 45, a commuter who takes the skywalk daily.
The KDMC which is planning to have a station area traffic improvement scheme (Satis) at Kalyan station under the smart city scheme, will also make some modifications in the existing skywalk as per the requirements.
“The Satis project will make modifications in the skywalk only where it is necessary. So we cannot wait till that project. Whatever repair work has to be done should be done without delay as it is for the safety of the commuters,”added Koli.