Army to build Elphinstone Road FoB, two other bridges

The Army has been entrusted with the task of constructing three new foot overbridges in the suburban railway network in the city, including the Elphinstone road station, where 23 people were killed in a stampede on September 29.

The Army in its presentation to the defence minister, railways minister and Maharashtra chief minister at the site, unveiled the January 31, 2018 deadline for completion of the Elphinstone Road FoB.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who accompanied Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal at a press conference, told reporters that the Army will also help in building foot overbridges at two other stations­ Curry Road and Ambivali stations.

According to a senior official of Western Railway, the 76-metre long and 10-foot wide Elphinstone Road FOB will be a prefabricated modular truss bridge. These types of bridges are usually used by the military to facilitate movement of tanks and vans.

Defence Minister Sitharaman said that after understanding the gravity of the issue and in the larger interest of Mumbai suburban commuters, the Army will build the new foot-overbridge at Elphinstone Road station and complete the project at the earliest. This will be the first-of-its-kind joint effort wherein the Army and Railways will participate in a construction work aimed to fulfil larger needs of Mumbai suburban commuters, she said.

The Elphinstone Road FOB is to be constructed between the north FOB of Parel railway station leading to flower market situated at Elphinstone Road side. It means the new proposed bridge will connect the north-end of the FOB of Parel. As of now, this bridge used by very few people but railway administration hopes that after connecting to the west side, the number of users will go up specially vendors travelling from east to west and vice versa. Railways will extend all support in terms of logistics and blocks to the Army to complete the construction of this FOB well within the deadline.

Railway minister Goyal directed the general managers of Western and Central Railways to give full co-operation to the Army. He also thanked the Defence Ministry for coming forward in this hour of need, especially, at a time when the Railways is reeling under pressure to accelerate Mumbai suburban projects to bridge the gap between the existing and desired infrastructure.

For the past one month, a team comprising Army engineers and officials of Western and Central Railways have been assessing and working out the possible solution on the stations where immediate action is required. This new bridge at Elphinstone Road to be built by the Army will be in addition to the 12-meter wide Railway bridge for which contract will be awarded soon and work will be commence in November.

The work for this additional new bridge shall be undertaken in parallel to the bridge being constructed by the Army.

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