Farmers’ protest in Ambala delays Gokhale Bridge completion | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Farmers’ protest in Ambala delays Gokhale Bridge completion

May 03, 2024 07:42 AM IST

After a 15-month wait, the northern arm of Gokhale Bridge, an important east-west connector in Andheri, was partially opened to the public on February 26. The goal was to subsequently launch the southern arm and make the entire bridge fully operational by December 2024

MUMBAI: The ongoing farmers’ protest in Ambala has disrupted the plans of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), resulting in a delay in opening the southern arm of the Gokhale Krishna Gokhale bridge in Andheri East. Sources within the BMC’s bridges department disclosed that the scheduled deadline of December 2024 to open the bridge would not be met due to these unforeseen circumstances.

Mumbai, India - Aug 28, 2023 : The BMC wants to remove 13 structures from Gokhale bridge site in Andheri east. Construction of Gokhale Bridge in Andheri east withÊCranesÊatÊwork, in Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug 28, 2023. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India - Aug 28, 2023 : The BMC wants to remove 13 structures from Gokhale bridge site in Andheri east. Construction of Gokhale Bridge in Andheri east withÊCranesÊatÊwork, in Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug 28, 2023. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo)

After a 15-month wait, the northern arm of Gokhale Bridge, an important east-west connector in Andheri, was partially opened to the public on February 26. The goal was to subsequently launch the southern arm and make the entire bridge fully operational by December 2024.

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“The second girder, which is for the second arm, was to be assembled in May but due to the kisan andolan in Ambala, it doesn’t seem possible,” said a civic official from the BMC’s bridges department. “Only 500 tonnes of the 1,200 tonnes of steel material required has arrived so far. It is not possible to meet the deadline.”

According to the civic official, the farmers’ protest in Ambala has resulted in the closure of roads, entry and exit points and factories, exacerbating the transportation challenges for crucial steel material required by the BMC. Last year too, a strike at a steel plant in Rourkela and flooding at the Ambala workshop caused delays in the delivery of steel for the first girder’s launch. The open web girder, a fabricated structure, was also constructed in Ambala before being transported to Mumbai.

“The contractor has informed us that some parts of the girder for the second arm arrived in the first week of April, and their assembly is scheduled to commence on May 5,” said Dhaval Shah, director of the Lokhandwala-Oshiwara Citizens Association. “Approximately 60% of the steel required for the girder parts has already been received, with the girder expected to be launched in June or July.” Abhijit Bangar, additional municipal commissioner (projects), however, told HT that the girder launch would be more delayed than that. “The assembly may happen by mid- August and the launching by September end,” he said.

Shah added that after the girder launch, the BMC would initiate work on the approach road towards the girder. “This is projected to take at least six months unless expedited by the BMC, which appears doubtful,” he said. “Therefore, the December 2024 deadline to fully operationalise Gokhale Bridge seems increasingly unlikely and overly ambitious.”

Currently, the girder connecting the west to the east side, specifically the northern arm adjacent to Andheri Railway Station, has been launched. However, the girder linking the east to the west side, adjoining Vile Parle Station, is still pending launch.

The bridge was closed in November 2022 due to structural instability and was subsequently dismantled by the railways in December of the same year. After the 99.8-metre-long Vidyavihar Railway Over Bridge (ROB) in the eastern suburbs, Gokhale Bridge will be the second-longest ROB with a girder length of 90 mt. The new bridge is being constructed at an estimated cost of 90 crore.

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