Spiralling timber price keeps contractors away from project

The restoration work of the old Mattancherry bridge will be delayed further since contractors are unwilling to take up the work reportedly due to spiralling timber prices. Contractors will have to buy large volume of timber to complete the work, sources said. The Public Works Department (PWD) had invited contractors twice to tender for the Rs.60-crore project. But there were no takers. Then the department asked contractors to submit quotations. A contractor submitted a quotation that exceeded the estimated cost, which could not be approved by the government.

However, PWD has carried out the work on the approach road. Sources said the bridge has a wooden plank in the middle. New wood would be required to restore the portion. Celine Peter, a councillor from Thoppumpady, said the PWD took up the approach road work since there were no bidders. She said the Minister for Public Works, V.K. Ebrahimkunju, was aware of the situation. The old Mattancherry bridge, built in 1940, is one of the city’s key links to its past. In 1998, it was closed for traffic for a short period of time after a new bridge was commissioned. Two-wheeler riders are mainly using the bridge now. The steel and wooden parts of the bridge need immediate replacement or repair. Most of the steel sheets and wood works have lost their strength.

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