Mo­torists wary of us­ing old Vashi bridge

BUILT IN 1971 The last au­dit in May found the bridge to be safe for ve­hi­cles weigh­ing upto 16.2 met­ric tonnes, says of­fi­cial

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­

The col­lapse of the old bridge at Ma­had on Sav­itri river has led to wor­ries in the city and amongst mo­torists with re­spect to the old Vashi creek bridge, which has sim­i­lar­i­ties to the Ma­had bridge.

The au­thor­i­ties have, how­ever, as­sured res­i­dents that the bridge is in good con­di­tion.

The old creek bridge, just like the Ma­had bridge too has a new bridge run­ning along it. It has un­der­gone re­pairs over the years and de­spite the pres­ence of the new bridge, it still wit­nesses large vol­ume of traf­fic on it. It is an im­por­tant link be­tween Mum­bai and the rest of the State.

The old bridge was con­structed in 1971 while the new bridge came up in 1992.

Kailash Shinde, a reg­u­lar mo­torist on the bridge, said: “While there is lit­tle chance of flood­ing in the Vashi creek as it hap­pened at Sav­itri river, there is a fear that it is salt wa­ter and weather con­di­tions could weaken the foun­da­tion of the bridge. Its life ex­pectancy will be less than that of other bridges.”

He added, “Af­ter the Ma­had in­ci­dent, I have been avoid­ing the old bridge. I don’t want to take any risk.”

Su­nil Surya­van­shi, a Kamothe res­i­dent, said: “Since there is a re­stric­tion on the weight of the ve­hi­cles that can use the bridge, it means that the bridge is not in top con­di­tion. May be it is a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure but it does raise ques­tions.”

He said, “The Ma­had bridge had been cer­ti­fied as safe some­time back. The au­thor­i­ties need to be proac­tive in such cases.”

The old bridge on Vashi creek is of­fi­cially known as Thane creek bridge num­ber 1 at Thane Creek Bridge of­fice in Kokan Bha­van.

In 1988, as per the or­ders of the state gov­ern­ment an ex­pert com­mit­tee was formed which was later trans­formed into a stand­ing com­mit­tee.

This year on July 11, the gov­ern­ment or­dered that the com­mit­tee also in­clude pro­fes­sors from In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (IIT) and VJTI, Mum­bai.

Shrikant Ban­gar, ex­ec­u­tive en­gi­neer, Thane creek bridge depart­ment of pub­lic works depart­ment, said: “We have en­sured all pre­cau­tions and mea­sures to en­sure that the Thane creek bridge is safe for mo­torists. In the wake of the Ma­had in­ci­dent, fur­ther mea­sures will be taken.”

He added, “As a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, we al­ready have put in place an or­der that bans ply­ing of ve­hi­cles weigh­ing over 16.2 met­ric tonnes. Strict in­struc­tions have been given ac­cord­ingly to the traf­fic po­lice au­thor­i­ties to stop any such ve­hi­cle from us­ing the bridge.”

Ban­gar said, “As per the or­ders of the com­mit­tee, the creek bridge is re­viewed ev­ery year. The last au­dit of the bridge was done in May this year as part of the pre-mon­soon re­view and it was found to be se­cure for ve­hi­cles weigh­ing upto 16.2 met­ric tonnes.” Ve­hi­cles weigh­ing more than 16.2 met­ric tonnes are not al­lowed to ply on old Vashi creek bridge.


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