Rehabilitation woes delay Hancock Bridge reconstruction further
It’s been three years since the Hancock Bridge was demolished, but the authorities are still no closer to reconstruction of an alternate bridge at the spot. The reason for this delay is the fact that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) hasn’t managed to remove encroachments along the site. The rehabilitation process is also being complicated further because of the Bombay High Court’s direction regarding Mahul, and the civic body says it doesn’t have many alternate accommodation facilities available.
The 137-year-old Hancock Bridge between Mazgaon and Sandhurst Road stations was demolished in January 2016 after it was declared unsafe by Central Railway. Reconstruction was then stalled for almost two years, as the contractor appointed by the BMC was blacklisted. Fresh tenders were then floated, and the project was awarded to Sai Projects in February 2018, and work was supposed to be completed by the year-end. The total cost of reconstruction of the Hancock bridge was to be Rs 51.70 crore. But while 80 per cent of piling work has been completed, the remaining work has stalled due to encroachments.
Once the piling work is completed for the entire stretch, girders can be launched there. Encroachments are especially a problem in B and E wards. B-ward has already removed and rehabilitated people who had encroached, but there still remain over 30 shanties in Eward, and their rehabilitation is still pending.
“The process is going on. We will remove all the encroachments soon,” a BMC officer said.
The bridge was demolished in 2016