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1 lakh vehicles ply on unsafe Patripool bridge near Mumbai

The 104-year-old bridge has been declared dangerous and officials had said that it cannot take the load of heavy vehicles

mumbai Updated: Jul 06, 2018 00:40 IST
Sajana Nambiar
Sajana Nambiar
Hindustan Times
Despite being dangerous for motorists, heavy vehicles continue to ply on the Patripool bridge. (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT)

In the past four years, the railways have served several notices to Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), asking them to stop plying heavy vehicles on old Patripool road overbridge in Kalyan (East).

The 104-year-old bridge has been declared dangerous and officials had said that it cannot take the load of heavy vehicles. But, heavy vehicles are still allowed to ply on the bridge — around 1 lakh vehicles ply on it every day.

The 80-metre bridge is a vital east-to-west connect to Bhiwandi and Thane. After the road overbridge collapsed in Andheri on Monday during heavy rain, safety of other such bridges is in focus.

“Small vehicles can ply on Patripoool bridge but the bridge cannot take the load of heavy vehicles. The railway has not come up with a concrete plan to repair the bridge as the new bridge is open for vehicles,” said a Central Railway officer, who did not wish to be named.

The new bridge, built around 20 years ago, is built parallel to the old one.

The old Patripool bridge was built in 1914 and comes under the railways. It has one-way traffic flow.

However, MSRDC handles the maintenance. In 2016, activist Sreeniwas Ghanekar, through an RTI query, found that the bridge was dangerous.

“Although the authorities are aware of the bridge’s status, no measure has been taken to repair or even stop heavy vehicles from plying on,” said Ghanekar.

Last year during monsoon, portions of the road were washed away, affecting traffic movement.

“It develops cracks and potholes every monsoon. Last year when a portion of the bridge was washed away during a downpour, there were rumors of the bridge collapsing. This created panic among commuters, “said Anil Upadhayay, 45, a motorist who takes the bridge to go to Dombivli daily.

Read more: Heavy vehicles may get to use Kalyan bypass in 3 months

Although MSRDC repaired the bridge, there is no proper maintenance work done to ensure the structure is safe

“The bridge belongs to the railways and so it should take up repairs. We only look after the road on the bridge and repair potholes every year,” said Aniruddha Borde, deputy engineer, MSRDC.

In June, the MSRDC wrote to the Central Railway, asking it to close the Patripool bridge for heavy vehicles. Huge containers, trucks, tempos and school buses ply on the bridge daily.

“We have asked senior officers to put up height gauges on both sides of the bridge to prevent entry of heavy vehicles, “said a Central Railway officer, who did not wish to be named.

Borde said that two months ago, they had asked the traffic police to place barriers and stop heavy vehicles on the bridge.

“The traffic police refused saying it would affect the traffic movement in the entire city,” he added.

The traffic police said closing the bridge for heavy vehicles will lead to major congestion in the internal roads.

“The Patripool bridge is the busiest bridge in the city. A traffic chowky near the bridge controls the traffic movement. Shutting the bridge for heavy vehicles will lead to more congestion as both bridges have one way. The only one solution is to repair the bridge,” said Sambhaji Jadhav, senior police inspector from Kalyan traffic police.

First Published: Jul 06, 2018 00:39 IST