Govt may reopen Gokhale bridge for pedestrians, autorickshaws & two-wheelers by next week

The Maharashtra government on Friday said it could reopen the Gokhale bridge for pedestrians, autorickshaws and two-wheelers by next week. A technical assessment of the bridge will be carried out jointly by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Western Railway and Mumbai police’s traffic department for this purpose.

Addressing a joint press conference, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, guardian minister of suburban Mumbai and Ameet Satam, BJP legislator from Andheri (West), said a decision on this will be taken next week after the report on the assessment of the bridge is submitted.

The minister also put to rest speculation over who will demolish the bridge stating that it will be done by the Railways.

“We will visit the construction site on Tuesday and, based on our findings, a report will be prepared based on which we will take a decision on whether the bridge should remain shut or could be temporarily reopened for pedestrians, autorickshaws and two-wheelers. The process will take one more week,” Lodha said.

He said the government was exploring the possibility of reopening the bridge to ease traffic woes in Andheri following its closure. He said authorities were also exploring the possibility of creating a temporary pathway for pedestrians after the bridge is demolished and till the time the new bridge is ready.

“The BMC has announced closure of the bridge based on its structural report. Now, a second opinion will be taken on the structural report from the Railways and traffic department, as well as from citizens to evaluate the possibility if one lane could be reopened temporarily for pedestrians, autorickshaws and two-wheelers till the time it is demolished entirely by providing external support, which is also subject to structural clearance,” Satam said.

On Friday, Satam wrote to Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav urging him to expedite the demolition of the bridge by the railways. Satam requested handing over the task of demolition of the bridge to Railways’s Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL), which reconstructed a bridge in Valsad in a record 20 days.

Satam said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had a discussion with Vaishnav on the issue on Friday and it was decided that all agencies will work on the project together.

“The bridge will be demolished by the railways, while the new bridge will be reconstructed by the BMC, which will be floating the tenders now. We are aiming to partially open the bridge for vehicular movement by May 2023. The overall project will be completed jointly by both BMC and the railways,” Satam said.

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