Traffic Hazards in Dharavi: Mumbai


    Chaos Averted As Collapse Occurs At Dharavi T Junction During Non-Peak Hours. Locals Say Culvert Was Dilapidated

    Shawan Sen | TNN

  •       A major disaster was averted when a dilapidated culvert running over the Dadar-Dharavi nullah at the Dharavi T Junction collapsed on Saturday. Though there were no injuries, there were huge traffic disruptions and power failures due to the accident.
  •         The collapse happened at 11.15 am, when there was practically no traffic on the culvert because of the time of day as well as the weekend. Traffic on the culvert increases during peak hours in the morning and evening, even on a Saturday.
  • A dumper and a tempo were on the culvert at the time, waiting for the signal to change so they could enter the Dharavi T Junction.
    The culvert is part of the Sion-Mahim Link Road and carries traffic from Mahim to Sion as well as Bandra. The culvert was constructed prior to 1995 and BMC officials blamed weak soil at the ends of the carriageway for the collapse. A second culvert, which carries traffic the other direction, from Sion to Mahim, is undamaged and still open.
  •       Traffic was disrupted throughout the day, with commuters having to take diversions from the Mahim fish
    market. Electricity supply to the Bandra-Kurla Complex, Kalina and a few other areas was disrupted as cables beneath the nullah were damaged. Four cables of Reliance and one cable of Tata were damaged in the incident. “Our supply to Raheja Hospital and Taj Land’s End has not been disrupted as our other cable is working,” said K Khawadkar, manager, Tata.
  •       Ashok Kumar Ramagiri, 24, driver of the dumper, told TOI, “I was waiting at the signal when the incident took place. Initially, I thought it was a tyre puncture, as the vehicle sank towards the left. Before I could realize what was happening, the dumper fell into the nullah. I somehow managed to get out of the vehicle.”
    The dumper was filled with sand and was on its way to Kandivali from Dadar. The tempo was behind the dumper. “As soon as I saw the dumper leaning to the left, I realized there was some problem. I immediately jumped out. Police reached the spot after 15 minutes,” said tempo driver Mohammed Abdul Salim.
  • According to Dharavi residents, the culvert, which is maintained by the BMC, was in a dilapidated condition. The culvert is surrounded by marshy land. “No one has ever come to check the condition of the culvert. Garbage has been lying on this culvert for days, but no one bothers to clean it. Had the incident taken place in the evening, a lot of lives would have been lost,” said Riyaz Ali, a resident.
    BMC officials declined to comment on the maintenance of the culvert. A senior official in the bridges department said, “The MMRDA handed over the culvert to us. They constructed the road leading to the culvert and they should have ensured that the culvert could withstand the traffic load. What makes things worse is that the road is wider than the culvert.”
    D V S Jain, assistant municipal commissioner, G-North Ward, said, “Prima facie, it appears that the foundation of the bridge weakened due to soil erosion. The flow of the nullah has not been affected, otherwise it would have been difficult to manage the situation.”
    Civic officials said that it was difficult to say how long the repairs would take. “We know it is a very important junction connecting Mahim and Dharavi and is used by several people. We would like to make it usable as soon as possible,” Jain said.
  •       A police official said the road would be opened to the public after the BMC gave permission. “In all likelihood, we will first open a small part of the road for light motor vehicles,” said inspector Y C Gorde, of the Shahu Nagar police.
    SINKING FEELING ROAD RESTRICTIONS: The Mahim-to-Sion portion of the culvert will remain shut until repairs are complete. An undamaged portion may open earlier if the BMC gives
    permission. The Sion-to-Mahim portion of the culvert remains open Collapse triggers power outage
    The collapse of the 15-foot-long dilapidated culvert running over the Dadar-Dharavi nullah at the Dharavi T Junction triggered not only traffic jams but also a power failure on Saturday morning when a high tension cable was damaged. The cable, which supplies a major share of electricity from Tata’s power plants to Reliance’s network in suburban Mumbai, passed below the culvert. Around one lakh consumers in Bandra (E&W) Khar (E), Kurla, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Suman Nagar, Chembur, Chunabhatti, Kalina, and parts of Dharavi, Sion and Mahim were affected from 11.15am to 1pm.
  • “After the damage to the high tension 33 KV network following the collapse, five power supply feeders got tripped. On one feeder, around 10,000 to 11,000 consumers are fed power supply thus affecting the supply of around 60,000 consumers,” said an R-Infra spokesperson. A permanent restoration work is scheduled for today. Around 10,000-15,000 consumers of Tata Power in the suburbs were also affected. A small number BEST consumers were also affected, though officials refused to comment on the power failure.
  •       BMC says the lower portion of the ends of the carriageway, where the culvert join to the main roads, had weakened due to soil erosion
  •       There were traffic snarls throughout the day, especially at Dharavi T junction (on the Sion side of the culvert), near Raheja Hospital (Mahim) and at Mahim fish market


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