After more than a year long delay, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon start work on rebuilding the GK Gokhale road bridge in Andheri. While the project has been approved by the civic standing committee, the civic body is in the process of giving work order for first pulling down the exiting structure and building a new bridge at the estimated cost of Rs 103 crore.
The pedestrian section of the bridge, which is a key east-west connector for Andheri, connecting SV Road with NS Phadke Marg, had collapsed on July 3, 2018. Debris from the bridge had fallen on the railway tracks and killed two people, injuring several others. The total work, including demolition of the old bridge and reconstruction of the new one, will take 18 months to complete.
"We are planning to carry foward the project in two phases. The bridge will have to be partially shut for traffic when it starts. So, we will carry out construction one by one in two phases, as we cannot restrict the traffic movement completely. We are looking at issuing the work order as soon as possible," said senior engineer of BMC's bridges department.
Soon after the incident, one end of the bridge was shut for repairs. Later, traffic was allowed in both the directions on one carriageway.The Western Railway (WR) reconstructed the collapsed pedestrian path, which is under its jurisdiction, and opened it to people in June 2019.
A consultant was then appointed by the BMC to audit the structural stability of the bridge’s carriageway, which falls under its purview. The consultant's report stated that the structure was beyond repair. The civic body had then proposed demolishing and reconstructing the bridge in coordination with the WR.
“As decided, we will undertake work on only one side at a time. That side will be shut for traffic during that period. Traffic will continue to flow on the other side,” the official added.
The BMC had also invited bidders to rebuild the bridge along with a skywalk. The skywalk is also part of the project so far confirmed an official. "It is not possible to widen the bridge. It’s length and width will remain the same,” an officer from the BMC’s bridges department said.