South Mumbai's key connector, the Mahalaxmi Station Bridge, a five-month-old structural audit report has revealed, needs urgent and major overhaul. The BMC though is yet to initiate action, said a front-page report in this paper.
The audit report raises serious concerns over the bridge's structural stability, excessive corrosion of rebars, columns, slabs and beams, and replacement of all expansion joints. It also suggests measures to prevent a disaster to the 'T' bridge built 80 years ago.
As an immediate measure, the auditor proposed structural propping, to relieve the load in columns and beams. The report quoted an official blaming extreme alterations, additions and illegal construction in the galas below the bridge for the damage. There are around 40 industrial and commercial units in the galas below the bridge, connecting to Dr E Moses Road.
The civic authorities need to move fast on immediate remedies like propping up the structure as recommended. The bridge is already old, and now sees vehicular traffic at least five to six times higher than ideal. Why then, when the audit report cites dangers, are the authorities still not going ahead with the initial steps to secure the bridge?
There is also the question of why illegal construction was allowed to take place. It is nonsensical that we give the green flag to illegal construction and then, after it has existed for a few years, go ahead and break it, or ponder on how to remove it. Many times, we see that illegal structures are allowed to come up and then 'regularised' under some pretext or the other.
We need sufficient alarm and that emotion should lead to action. Shake off that apathy, red tape, and do whatever it takes to start acting now.