The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has completed the pre-demolition blasting of hard rocks near the old bridge at Chandni chowk over on Thursday. Now, NHAI contract workers are carrying out drilling work atop the old bridge to install explosives even as service road works connecting areas around the chowk are simultaneously underway.
A senior NHAI official requesting anonymity said, “On Wednesday morning, we carried out blasting near the bridge where the rocks were very hard and could not be broken by JCB and other machines. Hence, the blasting technique was used. On Thursday, using smaller blasts, the remaining few rocks that were coming in-between the proposed extension road of the highway were removed. Once the pre-demolition work is completed, we will move towards the actual demolition work of the old bridge.”
“We have already diverted the traffic that was going to the old bridge from other connecting service roads, and the service pipelines and tar road over the bridge have also been removed. Now, the drilling work is going on above the bridge to fill in the explosive materials for blasting purposes. This will take a couple of days to complete and then, as per the instructions given by our higher authorities, demolition work will be carried out,” the official said.
Whereas traffic on the existing old bridge has been diverted by the traffic police. On the day of the demolition, the bypass highway below the chowk will be kept closed by taking a block of 10 to 12 hours, and traffic diversion plans for the same have been readied by the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad traffic police. “We are waiting for the final date and time of demolition of the old bridge. As soon as we get it, the block of 10 to 12 hours will be taken and as per our diversion plans, the vehicles will be diverted from the bypass highway,” said deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Anand Bhoite, from the Pimpri-Chinchwad police.
On August 27, chief minister Eknath Shinde’s convoy was stuck in traffic at Chandani chowk while travelling to Satara. While some of the local residents who saw Shinde stuck in traffic, approached him and raised the issue of daily logjams on this stretch. They told the CM that nearly two to three hours were wasted daily in traffic snarls at Chandni chowk used by around six lakh people, most of them going towards Hinjewadi IT park and Mumbai.