Mumbai bridge collapse: Safe in August 2018, crashed in March 2019

The Thursday incident where a portion of the Himalaya foot overbridge collapsed outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) has raised doubts on the credibility of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) structural audit report of 296 municipal bridges across the city.

The CSMT bridge was constructed by the BMC in 1988. The civic body carried out beautification, including colouring and replacing of tiles with granite, in 2016.

Later, the BMC appointed a private consultant for structural audit of the bridge in 2017-18, in which the bridge was declared in C2 B category, which means it needed minor repairs.

According to the report released in August 2018, a total of 18 bridges in the city were dilapidated beyond repair, and needed reconstruction. These included 10 major bridges and eight foot overbridges. The Himalaya Bridge was part of the audited bridges, and was declared not dilapidated, but needing only minor repairs.

“Our priority is to determine how the contract auditor concluded this bridge needed only minor repairs. We will study the report first thing on Friday,” said municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

Incidentally, according to Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, a proposal to carry out minor repairs to the bridge was to come up for approval before the standing committee this week.

A senior civic officer present at the spot said, “Prima facie, it appears this was due to a girder welding failure. This happens because of excessive load on the bridge.”

Activists blamed the civic body for only focusing on elections, stating in the past four standing committee meets, they passed proposals worth Rs 2,300 crore. Godfrey Pimenta said, “Work that will facilitate popularity takes precedence, while the actual development work takes a back seat.”

First Published:
Mar 15, 2019 05:17 IST

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