The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has demolished the dilapidated Marine Lines foot overbridge (FOB), which was flagged as "unsafe" in a 2018 structural audit report.
The dismantling of the north side bridge started Wednesday night and finished on Thursday morning. It was closed to pedestrians for over six months. Officials said an FOB on the south side which was also marked unsafe will be dismantled Thursday night.
"The demolition began Wednesday night and was completed by 5 am Thursday. Around 25 workers were involved. Besides this, one JCB, one Crane and gas cutters were used for dismantling. The other FOB will be dismantled the same way by Friday morning. The reconstruction will be done by the bridges department," said an official from C ward who was part of the demolition squad.
"Since it was a holiday, there was not much effect on traffic. The FOB's iron beams were corroded and exposed completely," added the official.
The Chandanwadi FOB was used by thousands of pedestrians as it connected Chandanwadi crematorium to Marine Lines station. The crematorium lane connects commercial areas like Dawa Bazar, Bhuleshwar and Kalbadevi.
A report prepared on Tuesday by the bridges department (a copy is with The Indian Express) said there are 10 dangerous bridges across the city that need demolition and reconstruction. This leaves eight more bridges that need to be demolished. BMC sources said this will take at least a week, as the civic body will need to create an alternative way for people in some cases while in others permission from the traffic department is required to close traffic.
"We have sent letters to all the respective ward officers to immediately shut the dilapidated bridges for traffic and public use and start the process of dismantling. They are appointing contractors for dismantling. But the main challenge at most places is to move traffic for demolition and create alternatives before pulling down bridges…" said Sanjay Darade, chief engineer of the bridges department.
The list includes busy bridges with vehicular traffic such as Hans Bhugra Marg Bridge in Vakola, Hari Masjid nullah bridge in Sakinaka, Walbhat nullah bridge in Goregaon East and Akurli Road bridge in Kanpali.
A ward office-level official said, "…we have approached traffic police for their permission to close traffic. Most of the dismantling will be done at night to avoid affecting vehicular traffic. There are some FOBs that are constructed over nullahs that are the only way used by residents to cross over."