Can 19 old bridges in Mumbai’s western suburbs open for light vehicles?
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), along with experts from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), will conduct 24-hour load tests on 18 dilapidated bridges in the western suburbs, some of which have been shut, to check if they can be reopened for light vehicles.
The move comes after the locals criticised the civic body’s decision to shut down 21 dilapidated bridges across the city without providing any alternative route.
A load test was carried out on one of the 19 bridges, SNDT Bridge, on Thursday. Fifteen fully loaded dumper trucks were parked on it for 24 hours.
A senior civic official, from the bridges department, said, “VJTI will decide which of the bridges will be tested and accordingly prepare a report on the same. Based on the report, we will decide whether the bridges can be opened for light motor vehicles like two-wheelers.”
There was a huge uproar on social media where locals, who criticised the BMC’s decision to shut the Ghatkopar nullah bridge - which connected the area to the Eastern
Express Highway- without any alternative route.
Local councillors also raised the issue at the standing committee meetings, especially since the decision to shut down these 21 bridges was taken right before the monsoon.
Following thus, BMC later shut the Ghatkopar Laxmibaug nallah bridge, the SNDT Bridge at Juhu, Andheri, and two more foot overbridges at King’s circle.
After a two-year audit of the bridges, 18 bridges were declared dilapidated in the city.
However, after the re-audit, following the CSMT bridge collapse in March 2019, the number was increased to 29 within two months.
To avoid any risks, the civic body ordered the wards to
shut these bridges immediately. However, questions were raised over the tests conducted on the bridges.
Following this, the BMC is now seeking a second opinion from VJTI for the bridges in the western suburbs, since out of the 29 bridges, 19 are located in western suburbs.
Another BMC senior official from the eastern suburb said, “In the re-audit, only Neelkanth nullah bridge and Laxmibaug nullah bridge were added from the eastern suburb. The
former will be demolished and rebuilt, while for the latter, we will build a temporary steel bridge to open the bridge for light motor vehicle as per the second opinion from IIT
Bombay since we cannot keep the bridge shut for a longer time.”
The re-audit of the bridges in the Island city is still going on.