Watch | Mayhem at Mumbai’s Lower Parel station, thousands jostle to get in
Tuesday morning was complete chaos in and around Mumbai’s business district of Lower Parel, as both train commuters and motorists struggled after the rail overbridge (ROB) was closed for repairs. The Delise bridge, commonly called the Lower Parel ROB, has been closed for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic after an audit deemed the structure unsafe, owing to corrosion. The bridge connects NM Joshi Marg to Elphinstone Road and Lower Parel, all busy neighbourhoods in central Mumbai, and is used mostly by passengers travelling on the Central Railway, from Currey Road station, to reach these areas. Railway commuters who want to exit from the east side of the station had no choice but to use Datta Ahire Marg, to the west of the bridge, for the east-west journey. The narrow lane, already full of parked vehicles, was dangerously crowded during the morning peak hours as rail commuters struggled to get out. “I have to go to Kamala Mills, I but am not sure how to go there as the bridge is closed,” said Sunita Shende, an executive. People complained that the entire bridge should not have been closed. “The traffic police are not allowing even pedestrians, though only the portion over the railway line is dangerous,” said Santosh Modhave, whose office is in Lower Parel. For motorists, the traffic police are diverting vehicles via Senapati Bapat Marg and NM Joshi Marg. For the east-west journey from Lower Parel, people can use either the Elphinstone Road ROB or Mahalaxmi ROB, which is much further away. The bridge, built in 1921, was found unsafe on July 17 during a joint inspection by the Western Railway, the civic body and experts from IIT-Bombay. An inspection of all such railway bridges across the city is being conducted following the collapse of Gokhale bridge in Andheri following heavy rains earlier in the month. Based on the report, the railways asked the bridge to be closed. “We had asked them to close the dangerous portion of the bridge, but the railways insisted on closing the entire bridge,” said local Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhari.