Three much-awaited railway foot overbridges (FOBs), constructed by the Indian Army in less than three months, were inaugurated for public use on the Mumbai suburban section of the Indian Railways on Tuesday, officials said.
The FOBs are at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali stations here on the congested suburban networks of Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR).
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Defence Suresh Bhamre and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hopped into a local train from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Parel station on the CR for the inauguration in the afternoon.
The decision to hand over the FOBs' construction to the Bombay Engineering Group (BEG), a division of Indian Army's Corps of Engineers, came in the wake of the stampede at Elphinstone Road FOB on September 29, 2017, in which 23 commuters were killed and 40 injured.
Following a massive outrage among the eight-million plus Mumbai commuters who use Mumbai's lifeline daily, Goyal requested Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to help construct the crucial FOBs on a 'war-footing'.
Initially, the FOBs were scheduled to be completed by the January 31 deadline set by the state and Centre, officials said.
The construction was delayed due to several reasons, including a change in the alignment and an additional staircase at the Elphinstone Road FOB on WR connecting to Parel on CR, shifting the site of the FOB at Currey Road and an additional staircase, requisitioning material from various parts of the country and other local issues since the work was completed with thousands of suburban trains zooming up and down daily, they added.
This is the first time that the Indian Army has constructed such bridges for the Indian Railways in a congested urban setup like Mumbai.
The construction process involved soil testing, designing the structure, construction launch of the Bailey Bridge and the final commissioning of the pre-cast bridges, called Bailey Bridges, which can be built quickly and are common in the country's border region or difficult terrain.
The FOB at Elphinstone Road is 73.1 metres long and 3.65 metres wide and built at a cost of Rs 10.44 crore within 117 days.
The Currey Road FOB is 30 metres long and 3.5 metres wide built at the CSMT end from the east side platform at a cost of around Rs 3 crore.
The Ambivali FOB connecting two platforms is 20 metres long and 3.5 metres wide, built at a cost of Rs 2.70 crore.
The three bridges shall be initially manned by the railway security and are expected to significantly ease commuter rush at all the three stations.