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'Structural failure of launching girder led to Mumbai bridge crash'

Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) A structural failure of a launching girder resulted in Thursday night's accident on the Eastern Freeway Project bridge near Wadala in Mumbai which killed one person and injured seven others, a top official said here Friday.

The bridge was being constructed on behalf of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) by M/s. Simplex Infrastructure Ltd, a mega-infra projects contractor involved in building other similar projects in the city.

Incidentally, the MMRDA had initiated action against M/s. Simplex Infrastructure Ltd. to debar the firm for two years from taking up any work with it (MMRDA) as it had failed to observe safety norms in the Lalbaug Flyover project, revealed Dilip Kawathkar, Joint Project Director, MMRDA.

"However, they had been appointed for the Eastern Freeway Project before the Lalbaug Flyover incident, so it would be incorrect to infer that they had been 'blacklisted' by MMRDA," Kawathkar explained.

A portion of the Lalbaug Flyover had collapsed in November 2010, injuring one biker, and damaging four vehicles parked nearby.

"A prima facie inspection by experts indicates that structural failure of the launching girder on this bridge led to this mishap as the segments of the span, which were erected and being put together, fell down," Kawathkar said Friday evening, referring to Thursday's incident.

Besides causing human casualties, the accident damaged a car, a transit mixer, a taxi and a truck which were under the bridge at that time, he added.

Meanwhile, nearly 24 hours after the incident, the traffic on the site remained disrupted and is expected to become normal only by Saturday evening.

The ambitious Eastern Freeway Project bridge will connect south Mumbai at Orange Gate, near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to the eastern suburb of Anik near Wadala, via a 9.3-km long, four-lane elevated corridor.