“The bridge that collapsed in Mumbai is a road overbridge which is under Municipal Corporation’s maintenance. In fact, the bridge was intact, but the foot path over the bridge attached to it with the help of a cantilever system (no supporting system to the ground but attached to road overbridge) that which collapsed,” said a retired Senior Railway official, who worked on this section earlier.
MUMBAI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced to undertake a comprehensive safety audit of nearly 450 road overbridges, foot overbridges and bridges over the pipelines to detect and rectify any flaws in them. He also said that he has already announced an inquiry into it by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) and has sought a report within 15 days.
The road overbridge, built in 1971, collapsed near the eastern side of the Andheri railway station and some parts of it fell on rail tracks, disrupting train services.
Five people were injured in the incident and Goyal announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for each of them. A joint safety audit will be conducted by the Railways, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and IIT-Bombay of the 445 ROBs, foot overbridges (FOBs) and bridges over the pipelines in Mumbai as part of efforts to improve safety of commuters, Goyal said.
“I have spoken to the director of IIT-Bombay and he has assured all cooperation. In the next six months, all the 445 ROBs, FOBs and other bridges going above water pipelines will be inspected and a joint safety audit will be carried out in association with the BMC as well,” he told reporters at the site of the incident. The railway minister said that based on its findings, rectification of any flaws in these bridges will be taken up by his ministry on mission mode.
Terming today’s incident extremely unfortunate, Goyal said that he has already announced an inquiry into it by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) and has sought a report within 15 days. Informing the reporters that hundreds of officers and employees of the Railways were involved in the restoration work on a war footing, he said, “Two lines of the Harbour corridor have become operational and we hope by 8 pm the other three lines will also become operational.”
The road overbridges are what the engineers call ‘prestressed’ concrete structures. “Steel bridges are also in large number in the city. “The foundation is thoroughly checked. We also inspect the steel structures for possible corrosion. If we find any damage, then we order the structure to be replaced and repainted,” he says.
The road and foot overbridges are inspected by supervisors every month and by senior staff three times a year. “We make sure the quality of inspection is not compromised. The steel structures are most vulnerable to corrosion because of people urinating near them. This leads to rapid deterioration,” he says. Inspectors check the foundation to gauge vertical strength. Another official in charge of bridge construction says, “For some bridges, the BMP pays a fee to the Railways for the land. The railways and the BBMP jointly maintain these structures.
“The bridge that collapsed in Mumbai is a road overbridge. It was intact but the foot over bridge attached to it, with the help of a cantilever system (no supporting system to the ground but attached to road overbridge) collapsed.” he said.