Work on concrete parapet on two sides of space beneath Thennur bridge in progress

The Tiruchirapalli City Corporation has finally decided to spruce up open spaces beneath the bridges that have come to be occupied by encroachers or used as garbage dump.

As a first step, the civic body has started building concrete parapet on two sides of the public space under the Thennur bridge and planned to raise a small garden at the space.

Soon after opening the bridges about a decade ago, the civic administrators had announced that the open space under the bridges would be put to good use as parking lot or public parks. But years have passed by without any initiative in this direction.

The space under the bridges, especially at Palakkarai and Thennur, presented a picture of squalor and neglect. Various stretches became convenient dumping ground for building debris and garbage. The space under the bridges on Thennur High Road, the Heber Road, and the Madurai High Road has been encroached upon by vendors and traders. Truck and goods van operators find it a convenient to park their vehicles. At a few places, the pillars of the bridges have become supporting structures for sheds. The space under the bridge around the Ramakrishna cinema corner near Thennur had been converted into an open garbage dump and open air toilet.

The dingy corners beneath the bridges, especially near the Thennur and Palakkarai railway crossings, have become refuges of anti-social elements, local residents have been complaining.

Corporation officials said the construction of the parapet would help prevent encroachments. “We have taken up the work at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh. Once the concrete structure is ready, we will raise a garden in the area and provide lighting. We are taking up the work on a pilot basis. Depending on its success, we will take up similar initiatives at open spaces under the other bridges,” Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani told The Hindu.

Sakunthala Srinivasan, a resident of Anna Nagar, and president, Tiruchi Payaneetalar Iyakkam, who has long been complaining about the security issues arising out of the movement of anti-social elements beneath the bridge at Thennur, welcomed the initiative. “We hope the Corporation move will make the place more secure and cleaner,” she said.