Mumbai’s Lower Parel bridge to be shut for 2 years

Western Railway and BMC fight over who will dismantle the 100-year-old RoB, rebuild it.
(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 25, 2018 12:42 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByAroosa Ahmed, Mumbai

Commuters who get on or off at Lower Parel or Currey Road train stations are likely to face months of inconvenience now that the 100-year-old Delisle Bridge – better known as the Lower Parel rail overbridge (RoB) – has been shut down for repairs. Consultants to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Western Railway (WR) say the project will take up to two years to complete.

At a meeting held on Monday, consultants revealed to the BMC and WR that given the existing condition of the Lower Parel RoB, its reconstruction is likely to take approximately two years.

“The bridge will take quite some time for construction. During the meeting, it was evident that as the bridge is 100 years old, it requires special attention even during dismantling. The dismantling process will take nearly three months and then the reconstruction work would take one year,” said a senior WR official who did not want to be named.

The BMC and WR are also fighting over who is responsible for dismantling and reconstructing the bridge.

“We have requested the BMC to construct the bridge,” said the WR official. The railways have written to chief of BMC Ajoy Mehta, saying BMC should construct the RoB.

However, civic officials say the RoB is not BMC’s responsibility. “We do not have the expertise to construct the bridge and even if we aim to do it, we will have to go to the railways for every small permission. This is an unnecessary blame game. It is a railways bridge and should be constructed by them,” said a senior civic official.

A meeting is expected to be organised between WR and corporators to settle the issue. If no decision is reached, the railways may approach chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

For now, those who want to enter and exit Lower Parel and Currey Road stations must use the foot overbridges (FoB), but local say that the Dadar end of the FoB also needs immediate attention. “The cement from the FoB has been falling and the structure is weak,” said Tanaji Maqdum, a resident of Lower Parel. On Tuesday, the exits out of Lower Parel and Currey Road railway stations witnessed dangerous levels of congestion. While preparations had been made to divert road traffic, there were no plans to manage the crowds of pedestrians coming out of the stations.

WR has also received requests from local politicians and commuters to open the pedestrian portion of the RoB so that it’s easier for people to go to the station. “We have received requests to start the pedestrian portion of the RoB, however, no decision has been taken yet,” said Sanjya Mishra, divisional railway manager, WR.

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