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Mumbai bridge collapse: Civic body ignored IIT-Bombay’s recommendation

The collapse of a foot overbridge (FOB) outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) on Thursday was the second such incident in nine months in Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Mar 15, 2019 07:47 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
On July 3, 2018 a pedestrian pathway of Gokhale bridge had collapsed on the railway tracks at Andheri railway station. Two people had lost their lives and five were injured in the incident. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Nine months, two broken bridges, eight lives lost. The collapse of a foot overbridge (FOB) outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) on Thursday was the second such incident in nine months in the city.

The incident, which took place in the evening, saw a slab of the bridge collapse, killing six people and injuring 31. Earlier on July 3, 2018 a pedestrian pathway of Gokhale bridge had collapsed on the railway tracks at Andheri railway station. Two people had lost their lives and five were injured in the incident.

Immediately after the pedestrian pathway collapse at Andheri station, Union railway minister Piyush Goyal had ordered an audit of 445 bridge structures that were crossing the railway tracks or were adjacent to it.

The audit was headed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay and comprised engineers from Central, Western Railway and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The team that audited the bridge structures included foot overbridges (FOB) and road overbridges (ROB) in the city over the railway tracks. The team during the earlier stage of its investigation had shut the Delisle ROB in Lower Parel, citing the bridge was unsafe. FOBs in other parts of the city were also shut.

Though the portion of the bridge that collapsed outside CSMT was not audited by the experts of IIT Bombay, a series of recommendations were shared with the civic body during the inspection of the other bridges on the railway premises, said an official who was part of the team auditing bridges on the railways. The civic body in return had stated that such an audit of bridges across the city are being conducted, the official said.

“During the inspection it was pointed out to BMC (the need) for auditing the bridges are on the road. The civic body had stated that (such) an audit was going on,” said the official. Meanwhile, a CR official said granite had been placed in 2018 on the bridge near CSMT during maintenance work, making the structure heavy.

When contacted, the municipal commissioner and additional municipal commissioner were unavailable for comments.The bridge was constructed by BMC in 1988. It carried out beautification by coloring and by replacing tiles with granite in 2016. Later on, the BMC had appointed a private consultant for structural audit of the bridge in 2017-18 in which the bridge was declared in C2 B, which means it needs minor repairs. The report of the Andheri bridge collapse had revealed failure on part of both the WR and BMC. Paver blocks on the pathway had increased the weight on the bridge, leading to the collapse.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 05:20 IST