A week after a bridge over a nullah on Juhu Tara Road outside SNDT Women’s University was closed after an audit found it dangerous, the campus’s internal roads were opened to traffic on Monday as an alternate route.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Dr Shashikala Wanjari, said the decision was taken after receiving assurances from BMC and Mumbai Police. “We have decided to open our internal road between 7 am and 7 pm starting today. But keeping peak-hour traffic in mind, we will extend this to 10 pm,” said Wanjari.
The bridge is among 29 that have been found unsafe for traffic following a re-audit conducted after the CSMT foot overbridge collapsed in March. It provides an important link to Bandra from S V Road and Linking Road, aside from leading to Carter Road. After the stretch in question was barricaded, vehicles were diverted via S V Road, leading to massive traffic snarls.
Local BJP MLA Ameet Satam had written to the university, requesting for its roads to be opened to traffic. “We held meetings with BMC and police and laid down conditions to be met before we allowed the use of our roads,” said Wanjari.
Chief among them, she said, was the safety of the university’s 5,000 students and 350 hostelers as well as the teaching and administrative staff. “We have asked for women police personnel to be stationed in the premises at all times and for CCTV cameras to be installed on the roads. We have also asked the BMC to ensure that motorists do not litter our roads,” she added.
While no deadline has been set for repairs, the university has made clear that its roads will be kept open for only six months.
Senior traffic police officers said work to repair the bridge is yet to begin. “The BMC is yet to float tenders and appoint a contractor to execute the repairs. Until then, there will be a traffic problem at the junction. The alternate via the university is a temporary solution,” said an officer.
The police added that only light motor vehicles would be allowed to pass through the university. “We will request the university to keep its roads open to traffic beyond six months. VJTI is currently carrying out a detailed re-audit of bridges… which is likely to be completed in 15 days. Only once it is over will we know how long it will take to repair this bridge,” said Satam.