As Muthu Bridge is likely to be closed from November 26 to 30 for repair works
The demolition of the foot overbridge constructed near Periyar bus stand commenced here on Tuesday.
Built 14 years ago at a cost of around Rs.25 lakh during the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime, the then rulers took the decision to construct it as the arterial stretch was considered “unsafe” for pedestrians to cross the road. After gathering public opinion, the then Corporation constructed the bridge and dedicated it to the people wanting to cross the road from Shopping Complex bus stand to Periyar bus stand and vice versa.
For about a few months, it was lauded by many users as the bridge was safe to cross from one end to the other, especially during nights.
However, after sometime, due to poor upkeep, some pedestrians started avoiding the bridge and were forced to run across the road.
On many occasions, there have been serious injuries, which had led to permanent disability and even on a couple of accidents; it had turned fatal, according to police records. Traffic police had expressed inability to post their men on a permanent basis to regulate the pedestrian movement due to shortage of police. Thus, in the absence of personnel, motorists’ refused to obey or stop for a while to facilitate public to cross the road.
Further, lack of enforcement by the traffic police was attributed as a reason for poor patronage of public using the bridge. In the due course, many pedestrians also rejected to use it as the bridge was unclean due to open defecation.
Whenever there was an accident, after a public uproar, the police would be deployed on the stretch to regulate the movement. But after some months, they disappeared, according to shopkeepers in the vicinity.
In fact, according to a reliable source in Madurai Corporation, after the bridge was dedicated to public, the successive administrators had ignored on the upkeep of it. This is a fact. This led to public rejecting to use it and preferred to cross the road wherever they wanted. When the bridge fetched revenue, as the Corporation permitted advertisers to display their products on both sides, the facility could have been maintained, he admitted.
According to a press release from the Corporation, as the bridge was not being used by the pedestrians, the authorities had proposed to demolish it after an inspection was carried out by the Commissioner R. Nanthagopal and others.
Meanwhile, traffic police said that the stairs leading to the bridge was being razed down, while the central portion would be knocked off after November 30. “We will have to block the road to facilitate the authorities to pull down the structure. As the Mayor Muthu Bridge is likely to be closed for carrying out second phase of repairs from November 26 to 30, the work would be carried out thereafter,” he clarified.