"Long Jump?" Meant To Be Linked, 2 Mumbai Flyovers Have A 6-Foot Gap

The Mumbai civic body, currently run by the Maharashtra government, had termed the bridge an "architectural marvel" when it was opened earlier this week.

'Long Jump?' Meant To Be Linked, 2 Mumbai Flyovers Have A 6-Foot Gap

The government has claimed the bridge's height had to be raised because of a new Railways' policy.


Aligning and linking two important flyovers has proven to be a bridge too far for the Mumbai civic body, which is now facing ridicule for leaving a vertical gap of nearly six feet between them. The misstep has also sparked a political row, with the opposition asking the government whether it expects Mumbaikars to make a long jump in their vehicles to reach the other flyover. 

One arm of the important Gokhale Bridge, which connects Andheri East and West, was thrown open to vehicular traffic on Monday evening, with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) calling it an architectural marvel and claiming that it was built over the "country's busiest railway tracks" without disrupting local and long-distance train services. The BMC is currently run by an administrator, who reports to the state government. 

A portion of the bridge had collapsed in 2018, killing two people, and it was demolished in 2022 to be reconstructed. Before it was taken apart, the bridge linked to the Barfiwala Flyover, which is used by traffic from the area to head towards Juhu and then proceed to key suburbs like Bandra. 

When news of the Gokhale Bridge being opened surfaced, commuters welcomed the possibility of their travel time being cut short again. The joy gave way to shock, however, when it turned out that the Barfiwala Flyover was not joined because of the height difference and the bridge would not serve the purpose that a majority of vehicles used it for. 

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Attacking the Maharashtra government led by Eknath Shinde - who had split the Shiv Sena in 2022 and led to the toppling of the Uddhav Thackeray government - Shiv Sena (Udhhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Aaditya Thackeray said the height difference was a result of a corrupt regime and that the ministers had inaugurated a "half ready, embarrassingly delayed bridge".

"Yes truly first in India, probably the world that the 2 bridges that were to be joined have a difference of 6 ft in height between the 2!" the former minister posted on X. 

Team Uddhav leader Anand Dubey pointed out that the Gokhale Bridge had been shut for nearly 16 months, since November 2022, and was still misaligned. 

"Is there no coordination between the BMC, the railways and the contractor? There is a height difference of 1.5 metres between the bridges. What does the government want? Do they expect Mumbaikars to make a long jump and reach the flyover? The state government is not only careless, but has also cheated Mumbaikars," he alleged.

'Railway Directive'

The Shinde faction of the Sena has, however, claimed that the misalignment occurred because of the Railways' new policy, which necessitated raising the Gokhale Bridge by an additional 1.5 metres because it was being built over railway tracks.

"During the construction of the bridge, due to the new policy of the Railways, the height of the bridge had to be increased by 1.5 meters. When the bridge was first constructed, its design was prepared along with the Barfiwala Flyover. But because the height of the bridge was increased, the flyover is now below it. We will seek help from the IIT and the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) and construct a ramp if necessary," said Team Shinde leader and local MLA  Amit Satam.

Sena Spokesperson Krishna Hegde said, "By December this year, all the improvements will be completed and the bridge will be completely opened."

Commuters, however, aren't convinced. "We had to endure long traffic jams because the bridge had been shut. It used to take five minutes to get from Andheri East to West but the duration went up to nearly an hour when the bridge was demolished. Now that the bridge has finally been constructed, they have made such a big mistake. Even if they construct a ramp, can it be done without closing off the bridge again," asked a local resident.