Sion ROB Demolition: CR & State Government Authorities Might Meet Next Week, Is IIT-B’s ‘Unsafe’ Mark Reason Behind Stall Out?

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A meeting between the Central Railway (CR) and state government officials on demolishing the British-era-built Sion Railway Overbridge (ROB) might be held next week. The demolition of the Sion ROB was halted after Shinde-Sena MP Rahul Shewale intervened on behalf of residents and raised traffic concerns.

Shewale brought up the matter with CR authorities last month and asked them to give community engagement top priority because of possible traffic interruptions. Even though CR had all the necessary permits and traffic clearance to start the demolition, it was put on hold until the authorities met.

The postponement of the meeting was partly caused by Shewale’s participation in the 2024 parliamentary budget session. A CR official did, however, clarify that the meeting is scheduled for next week, following which a definitive decision about the bridge’s demolition may be made.

When it was first scheduled to close on January 20, it was expected that the demolition process would take six months, and then the reconstruction phase would take eighteen months. The purpose of the deconstruction is to create space for the fifth and sixth lines’ tracks to be built, which will enhance suburban rail services and mail transportation by providing dedicated tracks.

Furthermore, the Sion Bridge was deemed hazardous by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) in its audit report from April 2020 due to the deterioration of essential structural components. The RCC deck slab and RCC parapet wall, as well as the first two I-girders from the north side, are in poor condition. They’re not safe. It should take three months to fix or rehabilitate. The structural audit study recommended that the bridge be closed if it couldn’t be fixed or renovated in three months.

Although the bridge is constantly maintained and repaired, discussions regarding the planned removal have been sparked by the red flag raised by IIT B, said a CR official. Notably, the 1912-built Sion Bridge, a remnant of the British Empire, provides an essential link between Dharavi, LBS Road, and the Eastern Express Highway.