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Bridging the gap to nowhere? Mumbai's Gokhale bridge opens with 'shocking' alignment woes

The inauguration of the Gokhale Bridge, hailed as an architectural marvel, has ignited a political storm, with Shiv Sena (UBT) blaming a "corrupt administrator" for the height difference.
Last Updated : 29 February 2024, 13:05 IST

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Amid much anticipation, when the one arm of Mumbai's Gokhale bridge was thrown open for traffic flow on February 27, Andheri residents welcomed the construction of the flyover, hoping for smoother and faster commute. However, their joy turned to dismay after it was found that bridge was inaccessible due to misalignment with the adjoining CD Barfiwala Flyover.

As reported by NDTV, the Mumbai civic body's attempt to link two vital flyovers has resulted in a shocking six-foot gap – a potential death leap for commuters. 

Meanwhile, the inauguration of the Gokhale Bridge, hailed as an architectural marvel, has ignited a political storm, with Shiv Sena (UBT) blaming a "corrupt administrator" for the height difference.

The 'engineering marvel'

A portion of Gokhale bridge, which connects the eastern and western parts of Andheri in Mumbai, collapsed in 2018, leading to two deaths. Later, a structural audit was carried out.

A part of the Gokhale foot overbridge  collapsed on the Western Railway tracks, at Andheri station following heavy rain, in Mumbai on  July 03, 2018

A part of the Gokhale foot overbridge collapsed on the Western Railway tracks, at Andheri station following heavy rain, in Mumbai on July 03, 2018

Credit: PTI Photo

In November 2022, the bridge was shut for vehicular traffic due to its dilapidated condition and it was announced that a new bridge will be constructed after demolishing the old structure.

Recently, the two of the four lanes of the reconstructed bridge for east-west connectivity was opened for light motor vehicles with BMC terming it an "engineering marvel".

"For the first time in India a ground-breaking 1300 MT girder bridge was installed over one of the country's busiest railway tracks using sliding technology and lowered by seven meters without disrupting critical railway services below," the civic body had said.

'Half ready, embarrassingly delayed bridge'

Following the opening the of the bridge, political blame game has intensified even as the city grapples with the consequences of the civic blunder.

Former Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray on Tuesday slammed that Maharashtra government, accusing it of inaugurating a "half ready, embarrassingly delayed bridge" and attributed the height difference to a corrupt regime.

Anand Dubey, a leader from Uddhav Thackeray's faction, questioned the lack of coordination between BMC, railways, and contractors.

'Railway Directive'

The Shinde faction of Sena defended the misalignment, attributing it to the Railways' new policy that demanded a 1.5-meter increase in the Gokhale Bridge's height.

While team Shinde assured corrective measures, commuters remain unconvinced. Expressing doubts about the efficacy of constructing a ramp, locals question whether it can rectify the significant mistake without necessitating the closure of the bridge once again. The ongoing skepticism reflects the precarious nature of the situation.

Despite the concerns, Sena spokesperson Krishna Hegde assured that all improvements to address the bridge misalignment will be completed by December.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published 29 February 2024, 13:05 IST

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