Despite safety concerns, Mumbai civic body wants to build two more skywalks
While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is auditing skywalks to ascertain if they are safe to use, it is planning more skywalks for the city.
The BMC, in the past one month, has proposed to build two skywalks and an extension to an existing skywalk. The proposed skywalks are a 1-km one near Borivli Station (East) which will go up to the Western Express Highway (WEH) near Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). It will connect with a Metro-7 (Andheri East-Dahisar East) station along with a state transport (ST) bus stand. Another is a 900-m skywalk proposed near Kandivli station (West) via SV Road till Shatabdi Hospital. The existing skywalk near Santacruz station (East) up to WEH is proposed to be extended by another 1-km till Vakola nullah.
The civic body claims the plan is need-based, as the pedestrian volume is expected to be high or could go high in the future due to development works. “To encourage citizens and help the differently-abled use the skywalks, we have now decided to install lifts. We were considering getting escalators, too, but its maintenance is costly,” said a BMC official from the bridges department.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had constructed 39 skywalks in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) between 2008 and 2012, later transferring all skywalks to BMC for maintenance in 2015. The MMRDA had clarified that no more skywalks will be constructed in the city.
Of the 39 skywalks, around 24 skywalks are in Mumbai and the remaining are in nearby cities namely Thane, Vasai, Virar, Ulhasnagar, Mira Road and Bhayander.
AV Shenoy, member of Mumbai Vikas Samiti, a forum of transport experts, said, “The BMC should carry out public consultation in the area where they propose to construct skywalks to know whether the citizens will use it or not. Also, merely building lifts will not help. The BMC should also maintain the lifts. An example is the escalator of Grant Road skywalk which is not working as it is poorly maintained.”
Meanwhile, the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) is carrying out a structural audit of 24 skywalks in the city for the BMC. The decision was taken in June 2019, in the backdrop of BMC shutting down the Bandra skywalk citing safety concerns, after a woman got injured when a part of the bridge fell on her.
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