It will be 792 metres in length with 24 spans of 33 metres each

A new bridge would come up across the Coleroon river in the city over the next couple of years as the British-built steel girder bridge has outlived its utility.

The highways department commenced work on the construction of the new bridge this week.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced in the Assembly that a new bridge would be built across the river fulfilling a long-pending demand of residents.

The narrow steel bridge, which can hardly accommodate two-way traffic, was declared a weak structure in 2005, and since then only light vehicles are allowed to go through the bridge.

Heavy vehicles have to go via the bridge on the Tiruchi-Chennai bypass road. The bridge links Srirangam island, wedged between the Cauvery and the Coleroon, with the rest of the district on the northern side.

Motorists travelling between Srirangam and the no.1 tollgate are often caught in traffic snarls on the bridge, running for over 800 metres, in peak hours.

The new four-lane bridge, along with a minor bridge across the adjoining Ayyan Vaical, has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 75.47 crore.

Though there has been a clamour for a new bridge from the residents and welfare organisations, the demand has long been ignored in view of the huge investment required for the construction.

The new bridge will be 792 metres in length with 24 spans of 33 metres each and built on pile foundation. It will come close to the existing steel bridge built in 1935 by the British, said T.Sathyamurthy, divisional engineer, highways.

Sources in the highways department indicated that the existing bridge would be retained and could be used by two-wheelers.

The new bridge would be completed within two years, they said.

Though there is no land acquisition involved, encroachments are to be removed on the right bank of the river. Similarly, a graveyard on the other bank would have to be relocated.