Representational image
Representational image

Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is awaiting a nod from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) on the final design of the bearings, which will replace the old ones between the pillars and viaduct girders of the Sion flyover on Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, said a senior official from the corporation.

“Once the design of the bearing is finalised, only then will a proposal be put before the Mumbai Traffic Department Authority, as the bridge must be closed to traffic for a few months to carry out repairs,” the official told the Free Press Journal.

Another source from the MSRDC claimed the traffic department wants the bridge work to be undertaken as soon as the ongoing Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and Chunabhatti connector bridge work is completed. The MSRDC official asserted, “We cannot wait until the Chunabhatti bridge work is over. The IIT, in its structural audit inspection report, has recommended that the flyover repair work be undertaken immediately.”

The MSRDC expects to start repairing the flyover from December 5, at a cost of `5.2 crore. The appointed contractor for the project is Ajaypal Mangal Company. “If work starts in December as planned, then it can be completed before April,” said the MSRDC official.

After a part of the pedestrian pathway of the Gokhale Road Overbridge (ROB) of Andheri collapsed on July 3 this year and claimed two people’s lives, a joint inspection of the city’s bridges was initiated and IIT-B was roped in to do the structural audits of these bridges.

The MSRDC official stated, “We have 27 bridges under our authority. The Sion flyover was found to be in bad condition. The IIT experts, in their structural audit report, recommended the replacement of the bearings of the bridge, as they have rusted, causing the flyover to develop gaps in the joints.”

Around 144 bearings have to be replaced and the expansion joints are in need of repair, according to the MSRDC. Constructed in 2000 at a cost of around `31 crore, the flyover is an important connector for motorists coming to South Mumbai from the Sion Circle to Chunabhatti. “Ever since the bridge has been opened to the public, no repair work has been undertaken in 18 years,” said the official.

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