Foot over bridges in Mumbai to go 'topless' for safety



Roofs will be removed from all 21 foot over bridges (FOBs) across the two national highways crisscrossing Mumbai for public safety, a top civic agency official said here on Tuesday.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) Commissioner R.A. Rajeev said that after removing the rooftops, all the 21 FOBs would be strengthened and beautified to improve the local ambience.

"The roofs of FOBs look very shabby and also weaken the structure owing to their weight. There will also be no advertising boards on the FOBs. This will lighten the load and these FOBs would serve the pedestrians longer," he said on the rationale for the decision.

For aesthetic values, all the FOBs will be painted a uniform white-and-grey, and the entire program is expected to be completed in the next four months.

The decision came after several bridges/FOBs collapse incidents in Mumbai including the most recent one on March 14, when a FOB crashed outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, killing at least five people.

As a precautionery measure, Rajeev said that the MMRDA is already engaged in carrying out a structural audit of eight FOBs on Western Express Highway (WEH) and 13 on Eastern Express Highway (EEH) through the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI).

The MMRDA has also ordered speedy provision of various signages installed on the two highways and examining the structural stability of the signage gantries.

On the EEH, the FOBs are at Vikhroli (4), Thane (2), Ghatkopar (2), and one each in Kurla, Chembur, Kanjurmarg, Bhandup and Mulund, while on the WEH, the FOBs are Dahisar and Borivali (2 each), and one each at Kandivali, Malad, Goregaon and Jogeshwari.

On the likely protests by the people - since these FOBs offer shelter both during rains and from the blazing sun, official sources say that "small comforts may need to be compromised for larger public safety, since FOBs have been known for overcrowding especially in monsoons".

Rajeev assured that the MMRDA will undertake beautification of the media and spaces below the numerous flyovers on the two highway to "bring a happy and cheerful change" to the otherwise drab transport infrastructure. IANS