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
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.