The bridge will end traffic jams on the route to Ullal

Frequent traffic block on the Nethravati bridge on the National Highway 66 could be a thing of past as a new parallel bridge built across the river will be thrown open to traffic next week.

Sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) told The Hindu that traffic on the new bridge would be allowed from March 20.

One-way traffic from Pumpwell to Thokkottu would be allowed on the new three-lane bridge, constructed in about three years, while traffic from the opposite direction would ply on the old bridge.

Sources said the old bridge would be closed for traffic after some days for sprucing it up. It would be done before the rainy season this year.

Fewer traffic jams

The construction of the new bridge, which is 800m long and 12m wide, had begun in September 2010. The old bridge is 7.5m wide.

Sources said the existing two-lane bridge had been built for the movement of 12,500 passenger car units (vehicles) a day. But higher traffic density on the highway resulted in frequent traffic jams on the route. During festivities, traffic movement went up to 40,000 passenger car units (vehicles) per day.

The parallel three-lane bridge would facilitate the movement of 35,000 passenger car units (vehicles) a day.

Seismic lock

Pre-cast concrete girders (beams) have been placed on the bridge, which has 23 pillars. They were placed using hydraulic gantry crane.

They said that seismic locking of 96 long beams placed on the pillars was on the final stage. This locking system was being done to ensure that in case of major accidents, tsunami or earthquake, the beams were not misplaced. Metal crash barriers would be fixed at the sides of approaches to the bridge on both the sides.

The Navayuga Udupi Tollway Pvt. Ltd. has built the bridge under the highway widening project between Nanthoor and Talapady, and Surathkal and Kundapur (a total of 90km) under Phase III of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP). Sources said that 64 per cent (58km) works on widening the four-lane highway have been completed.

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