Old Patripool bridge near Mumbai unsafe: Experts
Study by railways and IIT-B reveals that the British-era bridge in Kalyan is dangerous for all vehicles and pedestrian movementUpdated: Aug 05, 2018 01:14 IST
A safety audit report conducted by the Central Railway (CR) revealed that the old Patripool Road overbridge (ROB) in Kalyan (West) is extremely dangerous for all types of vehicles as well as for pedestrian movement.
The audit, conducted after the Andheri ROB collapsed on July 3, recommended the immediate closure and dismantling of the bridge.
“A safety audit was conducted on July 20, jointly by the railway officials, the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) and the Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-B) officials. As per the audit report, the civic body has been informed to stop all kinds of traffic movement on the bridge,” said a CR official.
Though heavy vehicles are not permitted to ply on the bridge, smaller vehicles like two-wheelers and cars continue to ply on it.
CR has asked KDMC to notify the public about the bridge being unsafe and thereby to stop its usage.
“We received a notification from the railways to take an immediate action regarding the new bridge. It is our duty to direct the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the traffic police to stop vehicular movement on the bridge and take further action accordingly. We will inform them to do so and also follow-up if the directions are complied,” said KDMC commissioner Govind Bodke.
However, the commissioner said that it is difficult to stop pedestrian movement and small vehicles plying on the bridge, as there is no other convenient alternative for them.
“The new Patripool Bridge already witnesses traffic congestion due to heavy vehicles. The traffic police will be intimated to come up with some solution.”
The old Patripool Bridge was built in 1914 and was declared dangerous in 2013 by the railways.
The railways then directed the MSRDC and the Thane traffic department to stop the movement of heavy vehicles on the bridge.
Following the directions, the MSRDC barricaded the bridge four times to stop heavy vehicles from plying on it.
However, the barricades were removed and heavy vehicles continued to ply on it. The authorities had to fit height gauges to stop the heavy vehicles.
Around 1 lakh vehicles used to ply on the old bridge, before it was closed for the heavy vehicles.
Following the closure, the heavy vehicles have been diverted to the parallelly-constructed new Patripool Bridge.
The closure of the old bridge for heavy vehicles led to major traffic snarls on the Kalyan- Shilphata road from July, with traffic snarls extending for as long as two hours.
Meanwhile, the MSRDC, which has already proposed a new bridge, has geared up to dismantle the old bridge.
“Although we have not yet received any notice from KDMC or the railways, we are planning to dig the Patripool Bridge at the earliest for repairs to stop all types of vehicles and pedestrian passing through it,” said Ram Jaiswar, executive engineer, MSRDC.
He added, “We have also prepared a plan for a new bridge which will replace the old one. The project is under final stages for approval from the railways. It will be put in a fast track mode now.”
The traffic police are struggling to manage the traffic congestion on the new bridge every day.
“As per the earlier direction, we have stopped the movement of heavy vehicles on the bridge. But we have not yet received any new notification from the railways. We will stop the movement of small vehicles on the bridge once we receive a notice,” Amit Kale, deputy commissioner of traffic police, Thane, said.
He added that there is no other option then diverting all the vehicles on the new bridge
“The new bridge is the only linking stretch that helps one connect to Thane, Bhiwandi and Mumbai,” he said.
Office goers who commute from the new Patripool Bridge to connect to other places lament the odd they face on a daily basis.
“I reach my workplace at Panvel two hours late every day, as the bridge is heavily congested. There are no other alternative options other than taking this bridge,” said Rohit Shinde, 35, a commuter.
Another commuter – Sushant Mishra –29, said, “For the last five years, we have been hearing that the bridge is dangerous but the authorities did not plan anything beforehand to tackle the situation.”
First Published: Aug 05, 2018 01:14 IST