Mumbai

Ghatkopar bridge reopened

Smooth ride: Laxmi Baug nullah bridge after it was opened to traffic.

Smooth ride: Laxmi Baug nullah bridge after it was opened to traffic.   | Photo Credit: P Srushti

Residents breathe easy as BMC opens Laxmi Baug nullah bridge for light vehicles

Residents of Ghatkopar are heaving a sigh of relief, with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) opening the Laxmi Baug nullah bridge for light vehicles.

The bridge was one of the dilapidated ones that was shut for traffic in June. Following an uproar, the BMC took the opinion of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and strengthened the bridge in around 25 days. Its reconstruction is part of the 10 bridges the BMC wants to rebuild through global tenders.

There are 344 bridges in BMC limits, of which 296 were audited between 2016 and 2018. Altogether 14 bridges were found to be completely dilapidated, which means they required demolition and reconstruction. After the collapse of the Himalaya foot overbridge in March, it was decided to re-audit every city bridge. The re-audits in the suburbs revealed there were 15 additions to the list of completely dilapidated bridges, thus bringing the total to 29.

Traffic nightmare

Of these, several are either demolished or shut. Among the bridges that were shut for traffic was the one over Laxmi Baug nullah at Ghatkopar, along the Andheri-Ghatkopar Link Road.

Since the bridge directly connected the Eastern Express Highway, motorists had to take a detour either through Garodia Nagar or Naidu colony. The closure led to a traffic nightmare for Ghatkopar residents.

Therefore, the BMC had sought IIT-B’s opinion which recommended that the bridge can be opened for light vehicles by putting I-beams (an iron or steel girder). Based on the report, the BMC asked the contractor of one of its existing works to undertake work at a cost of around ₹60 lakh.

“The bridge’s piers and abutment are intact, only the slab was corroded. Therefore, we placed eight I-beams on either side of the carriageway to create a mesh-like design. We then put chequered plates on top. Since this increased the height, we gave it a concrete transition. The bridge was re-opened last Saturday,” said a bridges department engineer. The bridge can only be used for light vehicles such as cars, autorickshaws and two-wheelers, but not buses or trucks, which will still have to use alternative routes. The bridge is 30 m wide and 25 m long. The BMC wants to widen it to 45 m on reconstruction.

Corporators welcomed the reopening. “People going from east to west were suffering a lot. We are thankful that the BMC reopened it. They have also assured us that this bridge will be widened and the tender process for reconstruction is under way,” said Rakhi Jadhav, Nationalist Congress Party corporator from Ghatkopar.

‘Less traffic now’

“All residents of Ghatkopar were suffering as the alternative roads would get choked with traffic. People had to go via Naidu colony, Garodia Nagar, which was longer. Now that the bridge is opened, people are happy. The fact that heavy vehicles are not allowed is leading to less traffic,” said Parag Shah, Bharatiya Janata Party corporator from Ghatkopar.

The BMC has floated tenders for demolition and reconstruction of 10 bridges at a cost of approximately ₹125 crore. This includes the Laxmi Baug bridge.

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Printable version | May 18, 2020 8:43:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/ghatkopar-bridge-reopened/article28828402.ece

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