Crack on old Vashi bridge re­paired, but still shut to traf­fic

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

A trailer head­ing to­wards Thane hit another trailer at Khare­gaon toll naka on Thurs­day. The driver was in­jured. The ac­ci­dent led to a mas­sive traf­fic jam dur­ing morn­ing peak hours.

The pot­holes on the Sion-Pan­vel high­way, which have made driv­ing a night­mare, caused an ac­ci­dent on Tues­day, killing two peo­ple.

Eye­wit­nesses said the biker was riding slowly on Shi­ra­vane fly­over be­cause of the pot­holes. A dumper hit the bike from be­hind, killing both the rider and the pil­lion rider.

Nerul po­lice has ar­rested the dumper driver for neg­li­gent driv­ing.

The de­ceased have been iden­ti­fied as Kam­lakar Mokal, 51, a res­i­dent of Wadala, and Sangeeta Ubale, 47, of Kurla. Both worked in a firm in Ban­dra and were go­ing to­wards Pan­vel.

Ac­cord­ing to an eye-wit­ness, “The biker had been ne­go­ti­at­ing pot­holes on the road. He saw a pot­hole ahead and sud­denly slowed down. The dumper com­ing from be­hind crashed into it.”

Se­nior po­lice in­spec­tor of Nerul po­lice sta­tion Ad­hikrao Pol said, “Both were se­ri­ously in­jured and were taken to DY Patil hos­pi­tal. They suc­cumbed to their in­juries.”

He said, “We have ar­rested the dumper driver Ra­jku­mar Saroj, 48, a res­i­dent of Mankhurd, and booked him for rash driv­ing.”

Pol said that prima fa­cie, it seems that the pot­holes on the road and fly­over caused the ac­ci­dent. “We are also tak­ing to the con­cerned au­thor­i­ties on the is­sue,” he said.

Mo­torists have been com­plain­ing about the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing condition of the road that was ex­panded and con­cre­tised a year ago. PWD has repeatedly claimed that it is re­pair­ing the road and so has the con­trac­tor SPTL.

The huge crack which led to the old Vashi creek bridge be­ing closed to traf­fic on Sun­day, has been re­paired. How­ever, there is no clar­ity yet on when the bridge will be opened for traf­fic again.

Shrikant Ban­gar, ex­ec­u­tive en­gi­neer, pub­lic works depart­ment, said: “We have un­der­taken im­me­di­ate re­pair work where the huge crack had ap­peared.”

He added, “How­ever, such works on a creek bridge takes time to be com­pleted due to the weather con­di­tions. There is also con­stant rain which is pre­vent­ing from the work dry­ing up ad­e­quately.”

The au­thor­i­ties had said that the bridge is in good condition.

The old creek bridge, just like the Ma­had bridge, 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 the year 1971 while the new bridge came up in 1992.

Ban­gar said, “We are not con­firm­ing the date of re­sump­tion of traf­fic as we do not want to take any chances. Once the patch­work dries up com­pletely and the road looks strong enough to carry traf­fic, we will al­low re­sump­tion of traf­fic on the bridge.”

Sources said that it could take around two weeks for the bridge to be ready.

Ac­cord­ing to Nitin Phadtare, a reg­u­lar mo­torist on the route, “There are in­stances of heavy ve­hi­cles of­ten us­ing the old bridge. The height gauge in­stalled at the start of the bridge has been dam­aged. The heavy ve­hi­cles hence eas­ily pass through at times when the cops are not present.”

Af­ter the col­lapse of the old bridge at Ma­had on Sav­itri river, the crack on old Vashi creek bridge has wor­ried mo­torists.

He added, “De­spite re­stric­tion in place for heavy ve­hi­cles, the move­ment of ve­hi­cles is sure to harm the bridge. The au­thor­i­ties need to be more vig­i­lant.”

PRA­FUL GANGURDE

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