How monsoon rains and a bridge collapse derailed Mumbai

While Mumbai roads were waterlogged, the suburban train services on all lines were disrupted.

How monsoon rains and a bridge collapse derailed Mumbai

Mumbaikars woke up to a rainy Tuesday with downpour hitting road and rail traffic. While roads were waterlogged, the suburban train services on all lines were disrupted. The situation worsened with the collapse of a road overbridge in suburban Andheri.

With several areas of the maximum city being waterlogged, Mumbaikars once again faced the problem of overflowing drains. Office goers had a nightmare of sorts as they stepped out of their houses to go to work. Traffic movements on Western Express Highway was hit majorly.

And then came the worse when part of a road overbridge collapsed in Andheri, stalling local train services on all routes. The bridge connecting Andheri East and West collapsed on railway track. Mumbai fire department personnel and other agencies such as NDRF rushed to the spot of the collapse of the Gokhale bridge.

Later, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) confirmed that at least five people got injured. Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal also rushed to the spot and ordered an inquiry by Commissioner of Rail Safety.

It was a narrow escape for many as a local train was stopped just metres away from the collapse site, thanks to an alert driver, Chandrashekhar Sawant. Noticing the portion of the overbridge coming down, Sawant slammed the brakes to ensure the local train was not caught under the debris. "It was a regular day when I noticed that the bridge ahead was beginning to come down. My instant reaction was to hit the emergency brakes as far from the crash as possible," he told Zee News.

Goyal announced that the driver would be given a reward of Rs 5 lakh for his heroic deed.

The incident took place at around 7.20 am. And the first train on the Harbour route could ply only at 2.20 pm while one on Western route could ply at 7.55 pm.

Since Monday night, the city was battered with more than 131 mm rainfall and the surroundings got between 130-210 mm, leading to waterlogging in places like Kandivali, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Ghatkopar, Santacruz, Sion, Kings Circle, Matunga, Kurla, Chembur, Tilak Nagar and other areas.

With several lakhs of commuters stranded all over the network, many walked down on the railway tracks to the nearest station, and the civic transport body BEST deployed 40 additional bus services between Goregaon and Bandra to clear the rush.

Most commuters bitterly expressed their opposition to the Bullet Train and said the need of the hour is to make the Mumbai lifeline safer and more efficient as peoples` lives and livelihood depend on it.

The cascading effect of the bridge crash and the heavy downpour was witnessed on the Western Express Highway, the main S.V. Road, Link Road and other arterial roads with traffic jams all over the city and suburbs.

Adding to the chaos was the roof of a BEST double decker bus was partly sliced off when it hit an overhead obstacle near Vakola, besides two other minor incidents - a short-circuit at Virar station and a fire in the Mira Road station ticketing office.

(With IANS inputs)