In the wake of the Andheri bridge collapse, a meeting was held between top officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Western and Central Railways. It was a result of the directions given by Union Minister Piyush Goyal to ensure that all the authorities involved come together to ensure the safety of all the 445 bridges that run over the railway tracks in the city. It has been decided that 12 teams of BMC and Railway officials, along with experts from Indian Institute of Technology will inspect these bridges over the next three to four months.
“Three professors from the civil engineering department will be a part of the initiative. They have met the officials from the Railways and will support and assist the inspection w ork with their knowledge and experience of the technical aspects of the work,” said Prof. Devang V. Khakhar, Director, IIT-B. It is expected that the experts from IIT will help the railways get a fresh perspective about the kind of technology that can be used to strengthen the city bridges.
At some locations, it has been observed that two-wheeler vehicular traffic passes through the footpath part of the bridges over railway tracks. “In such cases where threat is imminent, immediate action will be taken,” said Ravinder Bhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer, Western Railway. The spots where encroachments are blocking passenger or vehicular movement will be identified during the joint inspections and the BMC will then take appropriate action against it, he added. This aspect is important because such encroachment over pedestrian pathways can cause corrosion to the structure, thereby weakening the bridges.
The teams will inspect and conduct a detailed audit of the FOBs, ROBs and pipelines passing over the railway tracks in the city. The joint inspection is expected to begin from today. Apart from the inspection, the officials from the engineering and infrastructure departments of the BMC and Railways will meet for monthly meetings to discuss matters regarding all pending issues related to land, design, drawings and other approvals. The possibility of creating a corpus fund to facilitate urgent repairs without delay was also discussed.