Bridge fell due to corrosion, cables

Weakened structure: Rescue workers clear debris from the railway track after the bridge collapsed on July 3.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

The Gokhale bridge at Andheri collapsed due to corrosion, cables and paver blocks, according to preliminary findings by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS). The report has classified the accident as a ‘Failure of Railway staff & others’, and held both the Railways as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) responsible.

On July 3, the pedestrian section of Gokhale bridge collapsed, claiming one life and injuring four. It threw the suburban railway system of the Western Railway (WR) off track for several hours. Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal, after visiting the site, announced that the CRS was asked investigate the incident and submit a report in 15 days.

Sushil Chandra, CRS, Western Circle, who is inquiring into the incident, said a detailed report would be presented in three months’ time. “The current report is based on the evidence gathered and the depositions over the past 15 days,” he said. Mr. Chandra said the conclusions will not change drastically unless fresh compelling evidence is presented before the final report. “The authorities can take action on the basis of the report.” According to senior officials, the Railways will provide suggestions and a response to the report. However, it is the up to the CRS to incorporate them.

The report said the bridge collapsed due to “heavy/deep corrosion and pitting of cantilever steel brackets supporting the pathway.” The corrosion, it said, resulted in weakening the structure. In addition, cables and paver blocks contributed to the collapse. “The failure of the ROB (railway over bridge) pathway was contributed by the additional load of various cables, sand, paver blocks, etc provided by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai without the Western Railway’s permission. The load was not considered at the time of the original design,” the report said.

According to senior Railway officials, over 60 unauthorised cables were found in the debris of the crash site. Furthermore, Railway officials said the pedestrian section was not built to withstand the weight of paver blocks. “At least after this report, the Railways will crack down on these illegal cables. Sadly, no action was taken after the bridge collapse in Ahmedabad,” said a senior Railway official. In October 2015, a similar bridge collapsed in the Khokhra area of Ahmedabad. Officials said the report had stated the cables passing through ROBs be removed on the WR. However, no action was taken.

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Printable version | Sep 15, 2021 6:15:22 AM |

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