A day after a person died when his motorbike skidded on the newly constructed flyover on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road during rain, Mumbai Traffic Police on Tuesday morning closed the flyover for two hours after there were more incidents of motorists slipping on the bridge during rain.
Vehicular traffic was allowed on the flyover after 1.45 pm when it stopped raining. The BMC will now undertake repairs on the bridge late Tuesday night.
“Today (Tuesday) morning, there were multiple incidents of bikes slipping on the bridge, so as a temporary precautionary measure, vehicular movement on the bridge was stopped,” said SG Agawane, Senior Inspector of Deonar police station.
The decision was taken after multiple complaints were received about incidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain, raising questions about the quality of construction. Several such accidents have taken place on the northbound (towards Mankhurd Mandala) side since the flyover was opened and a fatal one took place on Monday.
A 34-year-old pillion rider lost his life after the bike he was travelling in slipped on the bridge on Monday afternoon.
The incident took place at 2.15 pm above Bainganwadi signal. The deceased, Yusuf Khan, a businessman from Shivajinagar, was riding pillion and his friend, Akhtar Khan, 28, was riding the bike. They were going to Mankhurd. “The bike skid while it was raining and fell. Yusuf sustained head injuries and died before being admitted to a hospital,” said Prashant Tayade, Sub-inspector from Deonar police station.
“The road became slippery due to the rain. We have registered an accidental death report and probe is underway to find out if anyone’s negligence led to the mishap. This is the first fatal accident reported at my police station but there have been several instances of bikes slipping on the bridge,” said Agawane.
This is the second fatal accident since the bridge was inaugurated this month. The first one occurred after one vehicle rammed into a two-wheeler two weeks ago, said Prakash Choughule, Senior Inspector of Mankhurd police station.
Traffic police officials said they have written multiple letters to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), uring them to take precautionary measures like putting up traffic signboards, CCTV cameras, speedometer and rumbler.
The 2.9-km flyover, constructed for Rs 713 crore by the BMC, was opened on August 1, three years after its deadline. The flyover has helped cut travel time for motorists heading towards Navi Mumbai from Ghatkopar as the link road has heavy traffic on the entire stretch, especially at Baiganwadi Junction in Shivaji Nagar.
The Mumbai police and traffic officials said there have been instances of motorists slipping on the bridge during rain every day. “These incidents are occurring on a 100-metre stretch on the northbound side of the bridge above Mankhurd T junction and Benganwadi junction. Due to rains, some oil-type chemical in the road appears on the surface and makes it slippery,” said a Mumbai Police official.
But officials from the bridges department denied that the construction quality was poor and there was oil leakage. “The construction quality is not shoddy. The surface of the flyover is very smooth and in many cases, bikers or four-wheelers go at high speed despite the speed limit of 50 kmph. We have decided to increase the roughness of the surface of the flyover. Also, CCTV along with speedometers will be installed to keep a check on overspeeding by vehicles along with a few other safety measures,” said Satish Thosar, chief engineer, bridges department. The work will be done during nighttime so that the traffic will not be disrupted, he added.
Activist Mushtaq Ansari said there have been several accidents on the flyover due to the poor quality of the surface. “A bike accident took place 20 days ago where the motorist was injured severely.”
A Mumbai traffic police official said, “The Mumbai police recently was part of a meeting with the BMC and discussed possible solutions to prevent future accidents. We have also suggested putting up speed breakers every 300 metres. They have put some rumblers but more are needed.”
“We have also requested that a traffic or police chowky be put on the bridge where one or two officers can be stationed. There have been instances of local slum dwellers strolling on the bridge and even thieves stealing small metal parts, so some police presence could help,” added the police official.
BJP demands inquiry
The BJP has demanded an inquiry into the construction quality of the flyover. BJP leader Prabhakar Shinde said that even on the day of inauguration of the flyover on August 1, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had pointed out the poor road surface quality of the flyover and had asked the BMC to improve it.
“The BMC had already delayed the flyover work for three years and there was cost escalation also. This is the condition of the flyover, which was constructed by spending Rs 700 crore. There should be action against contractors for shoddy work. The Chief Minister himself has questioned the quality of work. The BMC must conduct an inquiry in this matter,” said Prabhakar Shinde, BJP group leader in BMC.
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