Red tape holds up revamp of 100-yr-old SoBo bridges

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 30 November 2014 | 22.23

A tussle between the civic body and Central Railway (CR) has stalled the reconstruction of Hancock and Carnac Bunder bridges, which are more than a century old.

Both bridges have been declared unsafe and need to be reconstructed. Currently, the authorities have barred heavy vehicles from using the bridges by installing girders but experts say it is, at best, a stopgap measure.

The 135-year-old Hancock Bridge lies near Sandhurst Road station and Carnac Bunder Bridge, which is 147 years old, is located between CST and Masjid Bunder station.

The blockage of Carnac Bunder Bridge has severely disrupted traffic in south Mumbai from CST to the mouth of Eastern Express Freeway. Transporters say heavy vehicles carrying goods from the docks and proceeding towards their godowns at Sandhurst Road, Pydhonie and Masjid Bunder have to take a diversion at the northern side of Masjid Bunder. Daily commuters dread using Carnac Bunder Bridge. "Motorists are putting their lives in danger by using Carnac Bunder bridge. The authorities must look at ways of expediting the repair work," said Kartar Singh, a Sion resident who uses the link.

Officials from the BMC and CR, who have been meeting regularly since 2012, are unable to resolve the matter. The civic body has agreed to foot the bill for rebuilding the links but the design put forward by the BMC has not got clearance from the Railways. While the onus is on the Railways to raze the existing bridges. During a meeting held last week at the BMC headquarters, CR sought to increase the bridges' height. "We have submitted the design that the Railways shot down as they want to raise the height of the proposed links by 3m. It is not feasible to tinker with the height," said additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas, who attended the meeting.

"Increasing the bridges' height will pose a problem as we will have to match it with the connecting roads. It could lead to waterlogging in neighbouring housing colonies during monsoon. Some societies could also face a problem of access and even the fire brigade will be unable to enter," he added.

A CR official said, "The BMC officials are still preparing the drawings. Until then we will look for a solution that does not affect the DC-AC switchover project and or create traffic hassles.",Hancock,civic body,central railway

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