Old Vashi bridge to remain shut for 15 days after developing ‘crack’
In the wake of the Mahad bridge collapse, traffic officials closed the old Vashi bridge for vehicular traffic after a motorist spotted a sizable crack on the right side lane on Sunday.
Following a quick inspection, traffic officials were stationed near the Mumbai end of the road to stop vehicles from using the 43-year-old bridge.
Currently, there are two bridges on top of Vashi creek – an old one and a new one. While everyone can use the new one, the older one is restricted to two-wheelers and light vehicles.
The bridges connect Mumbai with Navi Mumbai and the subsequent highways for Pune, Goa and Karnataka. Since the new bridge was thrown open for traffic in 1992, a majority of vehicles use it to cross the creek.
Following the discovery of the crack, Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Arvind Salve confirmed that the bridge has been shut as a precaution. He also added that while the crack may have formed due to a minor fissure, it could sustain more damage if vehicular traffic was allowed on the bridge.
While the work on repairing the old bridge has already began, it is expected to take a minimum of 15 more days. During the period, motorists travelling on the route can expect heavy traffic, as the entire burden will be shifted to the new bridge.
An engineer from the public works department also told a leading daily that the old bridge was witnessed movement of heavy vehicles, who often use the bridge during morning hours. In addition, the metal frames that were added to limit the entry of vehicles of a certain height, were also damaged by the truckers.
Earlier this month, the collapse of a bridge on the Mumbai-Goa Highway near Mahad in Raigad district resulted in the death of 28 individuals.