A suburban railway station in the city is set to have two foot overbridges (FOBs), one each to connect to the east and the west of the station, to its island platform. The Currey Road station on Central Railway will have one FOB constructed by the Railways and the other by the Army, to connect the west and east, respectively
Suburban stations in the city mostly have end-to-end bridges with connectivity to platforms from both sides. As the presence of two FOBs in each station is mandatory, commuters can choose the bridge through which they wish to enter and exit the station.
The popular eastern suburban railway station sees heavy footfall during the morning and evening peak hours, owing to the presence of many offices and industries in the area. Construction of a new FOB began at the Currey Road station in 2016. Until then, it had only one road overbridge at the Parel-end.
The FOB, constructed at a cost of Rs 1.35 crore, sanctioned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), connects the island platform at the station to Currey Road West. It is 3.66 m wide and approximately 21 meter long. The new FOB connects the station to the west. It lands inside a public playground, and mainly caters to office goers heading to and from N M Joshi Marg.
Officials from the BMC and the railways said the extension plan of the bridge to the east of the station was ruled out after its landing overlapped on a joggers’ park developed by the civic body. Allowing commuters to pass through the park could have interfered with the facility, BMC officials said. “The bridge would have been used on a continuous basis by commuters. On the east, the bridge demanded a landing inside the park, which could have affected the recreational activities of those using the park. We suggested that the railways build an alternative bridge at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-end of Currey Road station that would connect both the east and west. But the suggestion was ruled out,” a senior BMC official said.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant claimed that the construction of another bridge at Currey Road station was a long-standing demand. “I had suggested that the railways make a bridge at the station from CSMT end which could also be connected to both sides of the station. I further suggested the railways make another bridge which could connect the Lalbaug area to the station. The one being made by the Army is that FOB,” Sawant said.
Speaking about the FOB built by the railways connecting the west, a senior railway official said: “The need to give an alternative bridge to the station was urgent. Thus, work for making the railway bridge at Currey Road station started in 2016. The work is complete and the bridge is likely to be commissioned within a week.”
The bridge to be made by the Army will be 30 m long and it would connect the island platform to the east that has its landing on private land. Last week, the railways paid Rs 5 crore to the land owner to use the space for the landing. The total cost of the bridge is Rs 3.9 crore. It is likely to be commissioned by January 31, 2018.
But commuters at Currey Road station have expressed concern over the need to construct two bridges. “A lot of commuters use the existing FOB at Currey Road. We do not know if the other bridge constructed by the Army will have a ticket booking office. If not, then we will have to walk up to the other two bridges to take tickets and then use the platforms,” Santosh Bhosale, a Ganapati idol maker who stays in Lalbaug, said.
Rajesh Barbare, another commuter, said: “The new railway bridge has not been commissioned yet. If commuters are made aware of the two directions of the bridges, then perhaps it would not be an issue.”
Railway minister Goyal, during his visit to Mumbai last week had suggested that the two FOBs at Currey Road must be connected. But railway officials have advised against it as it could lead to a surge in the crowd on the bridge. “If the two bridges get connected, commuters who are not bonafide (ticket users) would also get to use the bridge for commuting between the two sides. Two separate bridges divert the crowd in two directions, disallowing commuters from using a single bridge,” a senior railway official said.
S Kori, the chief engineer (bridges), BMC, said: “I will suggest to the railways to make a connection between the two bridges as that can see maximum use. A bridge must have end-to-end connection. Not making a deck does not serve the purpose.”