Reopening Gokhale bridge: BMC to seek technical opinion from IIT-B, VJTI

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday said that it will seek technical opinion from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) on the structural stability of Andheri’s Gopal Krishna Gokhale Bridge, which was closed on November 7 this year.

Following the report submission, a decision will be taken on whether to reopen the bridge for pedestrian use and light vehicle movement or not, said civic officials. Monday’s development came after the state government on November 11 proposed to reopen the bridge after taking a second opinion on its structural stability.

The bridge, which is an important link between Andheri East and West, was closed for traffic from November 7 onwards, while the BMC began its demolition and reconstruction.

Confirming the development, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects) P Velrasu told The Indian Express, “We will write to the VJTI and IIT to get their technical opinion, following which, the BMC will decide whether to open the two lane for two-wheelers and pedestrians or not.”

On Monday, a delegation-led by Mumbai Guardian Minister (sub-urban) Mangal Prabhat Lodha, with engineers from the BMC, Railways, and the Mumbai Police’s traffic department visited the bridge site, in coordination of local MLA Ameet Satam. Following this, Satam said that the Railways has floated a tender to demolish the bridge.

Meanwhile, civic officials on November 12 floated a tender for the reconstruction of the bridge for Rs 87 crore.

“Our suggestion is to keep the bridge open for two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, and pedestrians by giving them an external support to the structure till the demolition process of the bridge starts… in a bid to ease traffic at Andheri… We have been taking technical opinions from both the VJTI and IIT, which are reputed organisations, and we will not reopen the bridge unless they say that it is safe. The two reports are likely to come by the end of next week, following which a final call on the same will be taken,” Lodha told The Indian Express on Monday.

Local residents, meanwhile, appreciated the BMC’s idea of taking a second opinion, and said that reopening the bridge partially will bring respite to the people. “It is good that the BMC has sought an opinion from two top institutes, and are thinking of allowing two and three-wheelers to pass the bridge only after that…,” said Dhaval Shah, a local resident and founding member of Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen’s Association (LOCA).

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