The Panvel public works department (PWD) office wrote to Panvel city police station asking it to shut the 89-year-old bridge across Gadhi river. On Friday, the bridge was shut.
Motorists will now use only the new bridge to travel from Panvel to Uran. But, heavy vehicles will not be allowed to use the new bridge. They will have to use alternative routes which are longer.
The PWD office said that the bridge is increasingly getting dilapidated and there is a possibility of an untoward incident taking place.
Transport minister Diwakar Raote has ordered the audit of all old bridges in the state following the collapse of the Mahad bridge.
The 150-metre bridge was constructed by the British in 1927 to travel from Panvel to Uran. This was the only bridge connecting the two talukas for years. The life expectancy of the bridge has long expired, as per official records.
In 2006-07, a new bridge was built next to the old dilapidated bridge. Till Friday, both the bridges were being used for traffic movement on opposite sides.
Kunal Patil, a local resident, said: “Despite the Gadhi river bridge in Panvel on its last legs, there was regular flow of traffic on it. The two lanes were used by motorists to travel from Panvel towards Uran. The new bridge was used for travel from Uran towards Panvel.”
Senior police inspector of Panvel city police station Sunil Bajare and Panvel Traffic senior police inspector Vijay Kadbane inspected the bridge on Friday and shut it for traffic.
Kadbane said, “Traffic on the old bridge has been stopped following intimation by the PWD officials. The to and fro traffic between Panvel and Uran is only on the new bridge.”
He added, “As a precautionary measure, we have also stopped the plying of heavy vehicles on the new bridge as well as Kalundare bridge close by.