The long-awaited Lokgram Bridge in Kalyan (E), which was demolished three years ago as it was in a dilapidated condition, is still not reconstructed. Most pedestrians who regularly used the bridge to connect the East and West sides of the station now cross the railway tracks.
The old Lokgram pedestrian bridge was built in 1992-93 and was dismantled in May 2019 after it was declared dangerous by the Central Railways (CR). The 313.84m-long and 3.66m-wide bridge was the only direct access for East-West connectivity and to the station for the nearly 80,000 residents of Lokgram in Kalyan (E) and other nearby areas.
The bridge was declared unsafe by the CR after an audit report by the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) found it to be dangerous. The audit report came after the Andheri bridge collapse on July 3, 2018 claimed two lives.
A new connecting bridge was promised by the authorities.
Sumalata Tare, a 45-year-old commuter, said, “The bridge was very convenient to walk and connect to the station. Dismantling the old one and then taking such a long time to build a new one is just not acceptable as the railway should know that people were used to the bridge on a daily basis.”
An alternate way to reach the station through Siddharth Nagar, a slum area, is time consuming as it is a long route, claimed the commuters.
“It is high time the bridge was constructed and thrown open for the commuters. When there was a bridge, it was very easy to connect to the station, and now, we have no option but to walk through the tracks and risk our lives. I did try taking the Siddharth Nagar route. However, I keep missing the train as it is very time consuming,” said Sujoy Mehta, a 38-year-old resident of Lokgram.
Another commuter, Suraj Nair, 36, said, “This bridge should have been built on priority as it is one of the major connecting links between East and West sides of the city. Crossing the tracks is very risky and sometimes there are goods trains passing due to which one has to wait for a long time to reach the station.”
The Central Railway had earlier proposed to repair the bridge after its closure but the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) decided to rebuild and widen it as it was narrow. KDMC plans to widen the 3.66m bridge to six meters.
The bridge will be constructed by the CR and funded by the KDMC.
“The new bridge will be 420m in length and 6m in width. The tender process for the same is over and a contractor has also been appointed. The work will begin soon,” said a railway officer.
The Smart Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (SKDCL) has released an amount of ₹80Cr for the bridge.