Mumbai: Bridge in Vikhroli East, set for demolition, still being used

Laxman Singh
Kannamvar Nagar FOB connecting Panther Nagar to Vikhroli East. Nirmal Harindran

A foot overbridge (FOB) in Vikhroli East, which the BMC claims has been shut as it is highly unsafe, is still being used by local residents. Going over a drain, it is the only connection between Matru Chhaya chawl in Panther Nagar and Kannamvar Nagar, which connects to the city.

On Tuesday morning, when BMC officials went to shut the 25-m-long bridge, residents turned them away. "There are no alternatives for us if the bridge is shut. The BMC should first construct an alternative bridge or make some temporary arrangements for crossing the nullah. Then they can demolish it," said Subhash, who lives in Panther Nagar.

Panther Nagar is home to about 4,000 people. Besides pedestrians, the bridge is also used by two-wheelers. A BMC official said that the bridge is about 25 years old. Originally a wooden bridge, it was replaced by a steel structure in 2000.

Another resident, Raju Mhaske, who runs a general store next to the bridge, said, "The BMC can construct a parallel bridge before demolishing the structure. Officials promised they will come back with a solution."

An official from the Bridge department said, "We are in the process of appointing a contractor to demolish the bridge and start construction of a new one. However, the biggest challenge is to create a temporary alternative for residents."

A structural audit carried out by BMC-appointed consultants had called for immediate demolition of 14 bridges in the city. Three have been razed but the rest 11 are yet to be demolished.