A section of the Delisle road overbridge (ROB) in Lower Parel, which was shut on Tuesday for around two years to carry out repairs, is set to be reopened for pedestrians following an inspection on July 27. A joint team of officials from the Western Railway (WR), BMC, traffic police and elected representatives inspected the ROB on Thursday following a suggestion from BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta. The part of the overbridge, which would be opened, will allow commuters to enter and exit the Lower Parel railway station. The WR said that it would mark out the section, which is unsafe for use, following another inspection on July 27.
“The road will be opened soon and barricades would be put up to let people know which section cannot be used. The corroded side will remain shut,” said a senior WR official. According to sections 17 and 19 of the Railways Act, 1989, once the tracks are laid, the facilities and infrastructure over it — like the ROBs, FOBs and even nullahs (drains) — are supposed to be maintained by the Railways. After 10 years of laying the tracks, the Railways is supposed to regularly audit these infrastructure. While the owner or the civic body would bear the cost, the Railways would be responsible for reconstruction and maintenance.
On Tuesday, the bridge was shut for both pedestrians and vehicles. Its closing had led to overcrowding of the railway FOB in Lower Parel and chaos on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Following this, the BMC commissioner had called for an urgent meeting with Railways officials.
During the meeting on Wednesday, Mehta had suggested that it was not feasible to shut a bridge without any plan in hand. “The WR neither appointed a contractor for constructing the bridge nor has any design ready for the same. In this scenario, it is a bad idea to just shut the bridge for pedestrians as well as vehicular traffic. It has caused inconvenience to commuters. The situation looked very scary and risky, as it can lead to a mishap. Hence, it will be wise to take a second opinion on structural audit of the bridge,” he had said.
Mehta had added that light vehicles like two-wheelers or at least pedestrians should be allowed on the bridge instead of shutting it down completely. He had also suggested that the Railways should appoint a contractor for the demolition and re-construction of the bridge at the earliest.
Kishori Pednekar, the local Shiv Sena corporator, said: “If I complain of cough, will the doctor stop my breath? Then how can the Railways just shut the bridge without first coming up with a plan or appointing a contractor. I agree that the bridge has become dangerous, but the situation now, after shutting the bridge, seems more dangerous. Hence, it is wise to allow pedestrians to use the bridge.”