A day after The Free Press Journal reported that the BMC is likely to miss the deadline for opening Andheri's Gopal Krishna Gokhale bridge for a record fifth time, the civic body on Tuesday released an internal note on progress of phase 1 work. Meanwhile, a civic official said that the work of lowering the open web girder, weighing about 1,300 metric tonnes, is technically very challenging and risky. Its first such task even in the history of Indian Railways, added the official.
With the January 19 deadline fast approaching, the railway and civic officials are working on a “war-footing” to complete the arduous job of lowering the heavy-duty girder before the stipulated time. The work commenced between January 2 and 3 and the girder has been lowered by around 3.50 metre till Tuesday. The remaining job is expected to be completed by January 19. The BMC has assured to open one arm of the crucial east-west connector by February 15.
The official said, “The lowering of the girder from a height of 7.8 metre is being executed for the first time in the history of Indian Railways. Therefore, the Western Railway insisted on giving a specific and detailed lowering scheme and design to ensure safety of the railway property and commuters during the process.” The aim is to complete the remaining works, including casting of deck, before January 19, said the note.
Though the reconstruction work began in January 2023, the BMC failed to keep its promise of opening one lane by May 31 last year. The strike at a Rourkela steel plant in May and flooding at an Ambala workshop further delayed the delivery of steel to Mumbai. The deadline was subsequently extended thrice; first to September 2023, then to Diwali and finally to December 2023. The bridge is shut for vehicular and pedestrian movement from November 7, 2022.