As water supply to central Mumbai and parts of south-central Mumbai returned to normal on Monday night,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is worried about the repeated instances of underground pipeline bursts along the arterial Dr B R Ambedkar Road.
Officials said the old Tansa and new Tansa pipelines running parallel under the road have burst on a number of locations but the presence of six flyovers between CST and Sion and perennial heavy flow of traffic has left them with no way to undertake major repairs on this stretch.
Eight instances of major bursts on the old and new Tansa pipelines along the Ambedkar Road have occurred since May 2010.
A big underground pipeline,measuring 48 inches in diameter,burst outside the Parsi Gymkhana in Dadar on Sunday disrupting water supply to major parts of Matunga,Dadar,Sion,Parel,Lalbaug,Chembur and Kurla. Hydraulic Engineer Ramesh Bambale said a 12-ft stretch of the damaged pipeline was replaced with a new one. Traffic has been diverted since Sunday because of the excavation work carried out to repair the leakage. The road will be restored by Thursday.
Even though the pipelines run 12 ft below ground level,there is continuous heavy load on them due to traffic. The pipeline that burst is the newer pipeline out of the two but it was damaged due to the rocky surface around it coupled with the vehicular load, said an official from the hydraulic engineering department.
Officials in the HE department are concerned since there are several locations along these two old pipelines,which are on the brink of bursting.
The pipelines are more than 60 years old and need an urgent rehabilitation or replacement. But considering how important the road is from the point of view of north-south traffic movement,it is very challenging to work out a feasible project of repairing these, said the official.
While there is a comprehensive ongoing project to replace old Tansa main lines outside the city limits,there is no such proposal of its network within the city.
The six flyovers on the road have only added to woes. In 2004,a portion of the old Tansa pipeline had burst below the closed ramp portion of the Dadar flyover causing major traffic diversions during the prolonged repair works.
Officials said there is a constant fear of bursts happening below flyovers that will be technically much more challenging to repair.