FOB at Matunga West station shut after developing cracks, another part of Z bridge in dire need of repair

FOB at Matunga West station shut after developing cracks, another part of Z bridge in dire need of repair 1
The bridge was shut for pedestrians on July 8 after it developed cracks (Picture Courtesy: Ravinarayan Seshan)

Barely two weeks after the Gokhale bridge collapse, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials have closed the foot-over bridge at Matunga (West) station after finding cracks on it.

The FOB was partially shut for pedestrians on July 8 after locals reported it to civic authorities. While the affected section has been barricaded, no notice has been put up at the start of the bridge.

“The Matunga (West) FOB connected to the railway station was shut for public use last week after cracks were found on it. BMC’s bridge department will soon come out with an inspection report in this regard,” a civic official was quoted as saying.

Any decision regarding its repair or re-opening will be taken as per the report, he added.

While citizens have lauded the preemptive action, the lack of a clear deadline or any progress has raised questions.

“It’s good that the FOB was shut before any calamity took place. However, the bridge is used by countless people, including senior citizens and school/college students, every day. Authorities should start work immediately and let people know by when the bridge will be reopened,” said Amar Kasable, who uses the bridge daily to reach Matunga market.

Worryingly, another part of the pedestrian bridge connecting Matunga East and West, more commonly known among locals as Z bridge, is also in a dilapidated condition. However, it has not warranted any action from authorities till now.

“There is another bridge adjacent to this (Matunga West) bridge that leads to Matunga Central station. It is an even more precarious and dilapidated state. Why has that not been shut and taken for repairs? It is in a very sorry state,” said Ravinarayan Seshan, who has been actively tweeting to authorities about the state of the bridges since weeks; but to no avail.

Earlier this month, on July 3, a portion of Gokhale road over-bridge (ROB) had collapsed over the railway tracks at Andheri station, which left five people injured, including a 36-year-old woman who died a few days later.

The incident had paralysed the Western Railway’s (WR) local train services on that day and also hit the operations of some long-distance trains.

On July 15, the WR had stopped the suburban train operations after a citizen alerted it about a “huge leakage” in Khar subway. After the call, the WR engineers had carried out an inspection of the leakage site but found the call to be a hoax.

An official of the bridges department of the BMC said a structural audit of all the 274 bridges across the city was underway and an action plan for their repairs, maintenance and reconstruction would be prepared soon.

“Our department has been carrying out the structural audit of 274 bridges since the last year. The work is in the final stages,” BMC chief engineer (bridges) Shitlaprasad Kori said.

“Hopefully, we will soon prepare a list of bridges under various categories- those in good condition, requiring minor repairs, major repairs or requiring reconstruction,” the official said.

Of these 274 bridges spread across the city, 137 are located in the western suburbs, 60 in the eastern suburbs while 77 are in the main city.

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