Nilje Railway over-bridge (ROB) over Diva-Panvel railway route, part of the busy Kalyan-Shilphata stretch, will be shut for repair works from midnight June 15, traffic police officers said on Monday.
A safety audit of the 50-year-old bridge was carried out by the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), which stated the structure of the bridge is unsafe and should be closed immediately. It was said that in view of the safety of the railway as well as road traffic, it is suggested that the ROB be immediately shut for road traffic.
Central Railway (CR) had in May decided to shut the bridge and informed the concerned officials of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the traffic police. On June 5, the traffic police released a notification on closing the bridge and mentioned that the raffic would be diverted to the parallel new bridge.
After a part of the Andheri’s Gokhale bridge collapsed on July 3, 2018, both the Central and Western Railway appointed a team of experts from IIT-B to inspect 445 bridges that cross the railway tracks in the city.
“After the Andheri ROB incident, the railway had undertaken the audit of all ROBs. This (Nilje) ROB has been declared unsafe, based on which we have decided to shut it. The bridge will be completely shut for all vehicles from June 15,”said a CR official requesting anonymity.
The 21-km-long Kalyan-Shilphata route, which connects Kalyan-Dombivli-Bhiwandi-Thane to Navi Mumbai, is a vital link and sees a major congestion during peak hours. The traffic police department said the closure of Nilje bridge would lead to increase in the congestion.
“If the bridge is shut, the entire load will be on the parallel bridge. We will have to deploy more traffic cops to man the traffic. The congestion will be more,” said a traffic police from Kalyan (East) traffic unit.
Followed by the decision to close the bridge, MLA Raju Patil appealed to MSRDC to repair the bridge and make it open to small vehicles during monsoon to ease traffic congestion.
“The Patripool bridge on the Kalyan-Shilphata stretch has already been dismantled and a new bridge it yet come up, Durgadi bridge on this stretch is narrow. If this third bridge is also shut for traffic, then commuters will have to face lot of trouble during monsoon.”
An MSRDC official requesting anonymity said, “There is a plan to build a new bridge after dismantling this unsafe bridge. Repairing the bridge and allowing small vehicles has not been considered yet. We have received a demand to repair the bridge and open for small vehicles which will be discussed with higher authorities.”