Bridges and over-bridges form a vital infrastructure not only to ease traffic congestion but also to save lives, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said here on Saturday.

He was inaugurating the additional overbridge constructed at Perambur Loco Works utilising Rs.8 crore from the MP's Local Area Development Fund and a number of new parks, buildings and playgrounds put up by the Chennai Corporation at a cost of Rs.23 crore.

Mr. Karunanidhi recalled how his son M.K. Stalin's life was in danger when he could not be taken to hospital because of a level crossing at Kodambakkam more than five decades ago.

Similarly, the river between Kulithalai and Musiri was so vast and swollen, the coracles met with accidents and a number of lives were lost. Then, the public had to travel from Kulithalai to Tiruchi to reach Musiri entailing an additional distance of 40 miles.

“As I was then just an MLA I could do nothing. But, as soon as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam came to power, a bridge across the Cauvery benefiting the people of both Kulithalai and Musiri was one of the priority projects we conceived and executed,” Mr. Karunanidhi said.

Similarly, the Anna Flyover on Anna Salai, constructed more than three decades ago, was one among the first of this magnitude in the country.

Referring to how the government was interested in providing parks for the people to spend their leisure time, Mr. Karunanidhi said a 10-acre site close to Anna Flyover, which belonged to the government, had “almost been gifted” to someone.

“For retrieving this, we had to move the Supreme Court and now it has become the Semmozhi Poonga, which is drawing huge crowds.”

Mr. Stalin, who pointed out that of the 10 bridges planned when he became the Mayor of the Chennai Corporation, only one — Perambur Bridge — could not be completed.

“As against the estimate of Rs.94 crore for the nine bridges, all that we spent was only Rs.64 crore. This is quite unusual with regard to government schemes,” he added.

Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Textiles, explained how the Chief Minister was striving to provide excellent infrastructure and to make Tamil Nadu a “hutless State.”