Citing risk and danger to people, the BMC will go ahead with its plan to demolish and rebuild 10 dilapidated bridges in the city.
Last month, structural architect Shirish Patel had written a letter to the civic body stating that its plan to raze and rebuild the bridges was “fundamentally misconceived”. He had suggested scrapping the plan calling it “unnecessarily costly and troublesome for MCGM, both now and for decades to come”.
“We have taken expert advice from VJTI (Veermata Jijabai Technical Institute) and IIT-Mumbai and they have also given the go-ahead to our plan. There is a huge risk in allowing traffic on these bridges or undertaking repairs to only the extremely dilapidated bridges. In case of any mishap, all the blame will be on the civic body and its engineers,” said an official from the bridges department.
When asked about Patel’s objection to the high cost, the official added, “The tenders floated for the demolition and reconstruction of these bridges are as per standard procedure…”
Patel runs a company which designs, manages and inspects structural engineering projects. In June, the BMC had approached him and other prominent people for suggestions on ongoing works related to bridges. Patel had, however, said that except for a few meetings, the civic administration did not show any interest in involving citizen-members in the process.
The civic body plans to demolish and reconstruct 10 bridges spending about Rs 125 crore. These bridges include Pipeline bridge on Hans Bhugara Marg at Santa Cruz East, bridge across Juhu-Tara Road near SNDT nullah, bridge at Gandhi Nagar, Kurar village, bridge across Oshiwara river, Jogeshwari west and bridge near Laxmi Baug nullah near Ghatkopar BEST depot.
In his letter, Patel questioned the need for complete demolition when some structures seemed to have sound foundations which could be repaired. He had also questioned the delay in opening of Juhu-Tara Road bridge and Oshiwara bridge. Following criticism, the civic body opened the bridges to light vehicles last week.
After a foot overbridge connecting Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus collapsed, the civic body had ordered a structural audit of about 300 bridges. The audit found 29 bridges to be “extremely dangerous” requiring immediate demolition.