Mumbai

BMC planning to demolish Gokhale Bridge in 2 phases

Civic body says it cannot afford to completely shut the key east-west connector

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to demolish the G.K. Gokhale Bridge in Andheri in two phases.

After an audit report declared the bridge unsafe and called for it to be demolished, the civic body is considering pulling down one half and reconstructing it before razing the other. The BMC is awaiting a structural consultant’s report on the feasibility of the proposal.

The pedestrian section of Gokhale Bridge had collapsed on July 3 and its debris fell on the railway tracks below, killing two people, injuring several others, and throwing Western Railway services out of gear.

Following the mishap, the Western Railway started reconstructing the collapsed pedestrian path. Later, a consultant appointed by the BMC to assess the structural stability of the bridge, ruled that the structure was beyond repair. The civic body is now tasked with demolishing and reconstructing the bridge in coordination with the WR.

BMC officials said that the bridge is a crucial east-west connector and cannot be closed down altogether. Commuters had faced a harrowing time when the bridge was shut briefly after the collapse. The BMC and the WR have also been facing flak for closing the Delisle Bridge in Lower Parel. Considering these instances, the BMC does not want to completely shut Gokhale Bridge.

An officer from the BMC’s bridges department said, “We can close half of the bridge [eastbound or westbound] and divert traffic to the other half. The number of lanes will be reduced, but at least it will be functional. Once one half is reconstructed, we can take up work on the other.”

The officer added, “We want to know if this proposal is structurally possible and safe, whether demolishing one half is possible and diverting traffic to the other half will increase the load on the bridge. We will also need the no objection certificate of the traffic police. It will be a huge task.”

The civic body has asked its consultant to prepare the demolition plan and work out the cost. The plan will then have to be scrutinised, gain the approval of the standing committee, go through the bidding process, and handed over to a contractor. The BMC and the WR are also working in tandem on demolishing 18 other bridges and foot overbridges in the city.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 3:27:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bmc-planning-to-demolish-gokhale-bridge-in-2-phases/article24962539.ece

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