Civic body shuts road overbridge near Mumbai for heavy vehicles
IIT-Bombay report declared bridge dangerous; heavy vehicles diverted to Thakurli bridge but school buses avoid plying on bridge for children’s safetyUpdated: Jul 14, 2019, 01:06 IST
Two months after an Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) audit report declared the road overbridge (RoB) in Dombivli dangerous, the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) has closed it for heavy vehicles.
After the civic body’s decision, the traffic police on Friday installed a banner on both ends of the approach roads of the bridge, stating that it is closed for heavy vehicles.
Traffic police personnel have also been deployed on the bridge to divert the movement of heavy vehicles to Thakurli bridge for commute between the eastern and western sides of the suburbs at Kelkar Road and Shastri Nagar respectively.
The civic body, however, did not stop vehicular movement for smaller vehicles, owing to the impact it would have on the traffic movement in Dombivli.
“Not all motorists will read the signboard and follow its instructions. So, we have deployed our personnel at the approach of the bridge on both sides. The officers will divert heavy vehicles to Thakurli bridge,” said SN Jadhav, senior traffic police inspector, Dombivli.
As per the traffic police, vehicles weighing more than 12 tonnes come under the heavy vehicle category. These include sand-carrying trucks, dumpers, cement and goods’ trucks. School buses and civic buses are not considered in this category.
Last year, the 39-year-old bridge developed cracks.
On May 20, experts from IIT-B, in its audit report, suggested closing the bridge for vehicles. Based on the report, the Central Railway directed the KDMC to stop vehicular movement on the bridge. However, the civic body asked IIT-B to re-audit the bridge.
The institute conducted a fresh audit last month, following which, the traffic police sent notices to close the bridge for heavy vehicles.
Officials revised the notification later and restricted the entry of vehicles above 12 tonnes only — this include school and civic buses.
The CR will carry out the major repair work on the bridge, while the KDMC will look into the minor repairs.
The authorities have not clarified when the work will start.
“We have to wait for the design of the repair work from IIT-B. Only then will the work begin. We will conduct repairs for the footpath and the approach roads, while the railways will carry out major repair work,” said Sapna Koli, city engineer, KDMC.
Despite the authorities keeping the bridge open for school buses to ply, some schools have instructed their drivers to not use the bridge.
“For the past few weeks, we have asked our bus drivers to not ply on the bridge but take the Thakurli road overbridge instead. I think all the school buses should not be allowed to ply on the bridge, owing to the safety of children,” said Aparna Sawant, parent of a student from Omkar International School, Dombivli.
The Thakurli RoB was built last year by the CR and KDMC to decongest the Dombivli road overbridge and remove the level-crossing near Thakurli railway station to improve schedule of trains.
However, with the closure of the Dombivli RoB, the roads leading to Thakurli bridge are witnessing heavy traffic congestion during peak hours.
“The authorities should repair the Dombivli RoB immediately to ensure that traffic situation in Dombivli is under control. The roads that lead to Thakurli bridge are narrow and hence witnesses traffic congestion most of the times, especially at Saraswat Colony and Cholegaon. If heavy vehicles begin plying on the roads, the situation will worsen,” said Umesh Chaudhari, 39, a motorist who takes the Thakurli bridge to travel from the west to the east.
This is second unsafe bridge under the KDMC’s jurisdiction which the CR had asked to close recently. In November 2018, the 104-year-old Patripool bridge in Kalyan was dismantled by the railways after it was declared dangerous in an audit.
Last year, railway minister Piyush Goyal had ordered the CR and Western Railway to conduct an inspection of all the RoBs after the Gokhale bridge in Andheri collapsed on July 3.