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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Malabar Hill landslide: Ridge Road, part of Hughes Road likely to be closed for six months for repairs

Primary investigation has revealed that over a period of time water had started accumulating between the retaining wall and the hill slope causing deterioration in the structural stability of the wall.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai | Updated: August 8, 2020 4:44:32 pm
mumbai rains, malabar hill landslide, malabar hill link roads closed, ridge road, hughes road, malabar hill landslide damage, indian express news Cracks on B G Kher Road. (Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

Ridge Road, or B G Kher Road, a link road from Malabar Hill to the rest of the city, and part of N S Patkar Road, also known as Hughes Road, are likely to remain shut for six months, after Wednesday’s landslide caused massive structural damage to the road foundations, on the recommendation of a team of engineers from IIT-Bombay that studied the damage on Friday.

On August 6, heavy rainfall caused a huge landslide near Doongerwadi at Malabar Hill leading to the closure on a stretch of both B G Kher Road and N S Patkar Road.

A team of engineers from IIT-B inspected the landslide area on Friday to assess the damage and has recommended a partial closure for at least six months of both the roads. The team is, however, checking the possibility of opening the traffic on the south side of N S Patkar Road, previously known as Hughes Road.

“Engineers from IIT-B will submit their report in two days. But after the inspection they suggested not to open either side for traffic on both roads. It would be risky as a massive portion of the hill has caved in and we have to remove huge quantities of mud and large number of fallen trees so that it does not fall further,” said a BMC official. However, officials said that the final decision will be taken after the IIT team’s report and in discussion with the municipal commissioner.

Primary investigation has revealed that over a period of time water had started accumulating between the retaining wall and the hill slope causing deterioration in the structural stability of the wall. The heavy downpour on Wednesday led to an increase in water pressure which led to the retaining wall giving in.

As per the inspection of the IIT team, a150-m stretch of the Ridge Road has sunk by four feet to six feet. Officials said that the landslide damaged about 220 m on N S Patkar Road.

“We have to first remove all mud and damaged trees from the site. Following this the embankment will be constructed and after which filling of caved in portions of the road will be done to reconstruct B G Kher Road. Not much work can be done during the monsoon as there is a risk of more landslides due to water retention in the ground,” said a senior BMC official.

“IIT has suggested LiDAR survey of the damaged area. Our team will take help of a consultant for survey and subsequently a report will be submitted to IIT team for discussion. After that decision will be taken on traffic opening,” said Prashant Gaikwad, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, D ward (Malabar Hill). A LiDAR or Light Detection and Ranging survey is a remote sensing technology to study the surface of the earth.

Area residents said a couple of weeks ago, BEST was doing some digging work along the B G Kher Road for laying cables, and are linking that to the landlside. “About a fortnight ago, I was passing on B G Kher Road and saw excavation going on near Altamount Road. The work stretched till Tower of Silence. My car was stuck in one of the pits dug by them. It broke my car’s shock absorber. When I enquired about the work they said it was pending because of Covid-19. I told them to at least re-lay the dug up portion to avoid accidents,” said Deepak Bhayani, a resident of Napean Sea Road.

Meanwhile, the restoration of water supply in part of south Mumbai will at least take 48-hours. “We are trying very hard to finish the work in next two days. But it is challenging as the approach road for carrying out the repair works of water pipelines is an issue,” said a senior official from HE department.

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