After New Year’s day, congestion on Thiru Vi Ka bridge will be a thing of the past.
The highways department is working night and day to complete the Rs. 13.96 crore three-lane bridge that has come up next to the existing bridge across the river Adyar river.
N. Gopi, a resident of Indira Nagar, said that though he travels on the Thiru Vi Ka bridge almost daily, he makes it a point to avoid the heavy rush between 9 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. and between 5.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.
“There are just too many motorcycles and cars. During peak hours, those taking Kamarajar Salai and Anna Salai use this bridge. The traffic has become heavier after the traffic changes on Anna Salai began,” he said.
The removal of the flower and fruit shops on the Theosophical Society side of the bridge took some time, as the Chennai Corporation had to find alternative space for the vendors.
Work to construct the 16-span structure began in December 2010. It is 333 metres long and 11 metres wide. This bridge has come up between the Thiru Vi Ka bridge and the Elphinstone Bridge that carries the Chennai Metrowater lines.
In October 2005, though the bridge was proposed as a two-lane facility, the department made it into a three-lane bridge as a traffic survey suggested that a wider facility would be needed, said a source in the Highways department.
The Thiru Vi Ka Bridge, which was constructed at a cost of Rs. 58 lakh was inaugurated in October 1973. It is 1025 ft long and 62 ft wide, with four lanes. At that time it had separate lanes for cyclists and footpaths for pedestrians.
The Elphinstone Bridge, which was constructed in the 1840s, was still in use at that time and it was meant for other, slow-moving traffic across the river.
Old-timers still recall how the Thiru Vi Ka bridge was damaged in November 1985 due to a rush of flood water. Vehicular traffic over the bridge was then suspended. It had developed a gaping hole and a portion of the road surface had caved in.
Today however, the bridge bustles with activity almost throughout the day.