Locals bear the brunt as 15 bridges close across Mumbai

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Ahead of monsoon, the BMC has decided to shut down 15 more bridges across the city that were found to be dangerous. This decision was taken to avoid another mishap similar to the Himalaya foot over bridge (FOB) collapse that claimed seven lives.
DNA visited a couple of sites, to understand the impact of this closure will impact on people staying in the vicinity.

Prior to demolition, BMC barricaded the FOB near Matru Chaya chawl near Kannamwar Nagar in Vikhroli. However, this decision was met with stiff resistance from the citizens as the bridge is the only means of communication with the rest of the city. The residents of the chawl removed the barricades restoring commute through the thoroughfare.

“The chawl is enclosed by a wall, and there is no other way for us to cross this nullah if the bridge is shut. That’s why we removed the barricades,” said Janardhan Ingale, a resident of the chawl.

Work on this bridge, which was declared unsafe last year, began only after the Himalaya bridge mishap on March.

“We had requested the authorities to rebuild the bridge last year, but our requests fell on deaf ears. However, after the Himalaya bridge mishap, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sprung into action to repair the bridge. The municipality is building a temporary bridge following which they will reconstruct the old bridge,” added Ingale.

The situation holds true in most of the areas where locals lost access to 15 bridges that are in a sorry state. The situation could have been avoided had the authorities carried out repairs in instalments as they did for Laxmi Baugh bridge in Ghatkopar. The bridge eases traffic in congested areas like Ghatkopar and hence, can not be shut at one go.

“We cannot shut down the entire bridge. Since it is not that dilapidated, we will first carry out road widening after which the bridge will be repaired in parts,” said Parmeshwar Kadam, a local Shiv Sena leader and corporator of ward number 133.

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