Mumbai: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday inaugurated a new foot-overbridge at Mumbai’s Elphinstone road, five months after 23 people died in a stampede, an incident that highlighted the poor state of infrastructure at suburban railway stations. Two other foot-overbridges at the Central line – Ambivali near Kalyan and at Currey Road – were also thrown open to the public.
“Mumbaikars are grateful to the Army for constructing three foot-overbridges in Elphinstone Road, Currey Road & Ambivilli in a record time, setting high standards of speed, skill and professionalism,” said Goyal.
The new Elphinstone FOB spans over both Western and Central Railway tracks, connecting Parel station on the East side and Phool Wali Gali outside the Elphinstone Road station on the West side. In an unprecedented move, the Army was roped in to construct the bridges after tragedy struck on September 29, 2017 at Elphinstone station during the morning rush hour.
The project was completed in a record 117 days by the Army engineers – a fact lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet on Tuesday.
“We salute our braveheart Indian Army for completing 3 FOBs at Elphinstone Rd,Curry Rd & Ambivli in record time.These FOBs are being dedicated by Mumbaikars,” the PM said. In an interesting move, Western Railways roped in locals to inaugurate the FOBs, which they did in presence of Goyal, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and MoS for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre.
The Elphinstone Road FOB, which was built back in 1972, will benefit about 1.6 lakh commuters since it connects two major stations of Western and Central Railways. In a tweet, Western Railways said the FOB would help in smooth flow and decongestion of crowd during peak hours as well as be convenient to flower and fish vendors who sell their wares in nearby markets.
For the Army, coordinating with the Indian Railways and using military equipment for civil work formed the major challenges, Brigadier Mohan had told the Indian Express earlier, adding that the bridges could be used for as many as 40-50 years and can take heavy load.