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Risky bridges: 6 more months to demolish 15 unsafe structures

About five tenders have already been invited for the bridges in eastern suburbs and two in the city area

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2018 00:11 IST
Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Mumbai BMC
The Lower Parel bridge was demolished after being found at risk of collapsing(HT Photo)

Two months after declaring 18 bridges in the city as dilapidated and need to be torn down, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) estimates it will take six months more to start the demolition work of 15 of them. The civic body has already demolished three bridges but is now claiming the procedure of tendering and getting various approvals for demolition are the reason behind the delay.

The 18, which include 10 bridges and eight foot-overbridges (FoBs), were declared dilapidated from among the city’s 296 bridges which were examined for an audit report conducted by the BMC as per state government orders after the Mahad bridge tragedy of August 2016 which led to the death of 41 people.

Despite being declared dangerous, civic officials believe these 15 bridges are not in immediate danger of collapsing and since they are mostly located over nullahs and are smaller in size, any damage to them would not affect traffic flow.

One senior official from the BMC bridge department said, “These 15 bridges although declared dilapidated are not in immediate danger of collapsing and will be pulled down after the due process. Three of the 18 which we found were too dangerous have been pulled down.” These three bridges include the Tilak Nagar Bridge in Chembur, Gandhi Nagar Bridge in Malad, and Yellow Gate FoB in Masjid (East).

“About five tenders have already been invited for the bridges in eastern suburbs and two in the city area,” said another senior official. The tendering process for the bridges in western suburbs is also underway. “We will not demolish all the bridges together but in phases. Once the tender packets are opened, we will have to get approval from the standing committee and then seek approval from the traffic department. All this will take at least six months.” The official said that although there are no major bridges on this list, there might be traffic diversions.

Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner said, “We have already planned the schedule of demolishing these bridges and we have taken down a few bridges that had to be demolished immediately.”

The structural audit, which was on for two years, gained momentum after the collapse of Gokhale bridge in Andheri on July 3, killing two people. In September, the bridge department had informed the standing committee that 18 bridges needed to be pulled down as they were dilapidated.

Ravi Raja, leader of the Opposition said, “Although they did not give any deadline as to when these bridges would be demolished, they need to demolish them before any additional accident occurs.”

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 00:10 IST