Work on widening the Napalayam bridge on Tiruvottiyur Ponneri Panchetty (TPP) Road will begin soon.

Around 70 per cent of work on the 9-km stretch has been completed but widening of the road had been put on hold for over a year. The old two-lane bridge was under use.

According to an official of National Highways Authority of India, the work could not be taken up since the bridge had to be strengthened to suit the needs of a private company in the area. “Containers carry over 525 tonnes to the company every day and so the bridge requires additional strength,” said an NHAI official.

Tamil Nadu Road Development Company, the managing associate for Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) appointed STUP Consultants to design the bridge and IIT Madras tested the strength of the proposal.

Only 10 per cent work on a new bridge was completed by a previous contractor. The additional cost of strengthening the bridge and building two minor bridges and two underpasses for pedestrians on either side of the bridge and constructing a road from Andar Kuppam to Vallur junction will amount to Rs. 18 crore.

The TPP road is part of EMRIP on which 45 per cent of work has been completed. “We hope to complete the work by June next,” the official said.

S. Koteeswaran, a resident of Manali New Town, said the bridge was very crucial to EMRIP. “Hundreds of containers use the bridge every day but it cannot handle heavy truck movement. The narrow bridge results in congestion on at least 3-4 days,” he said.

K. Murugan, a resident of Napalayam, said the congestion is due to the bridge remaining narrow despite the road being widened on either side. “A temporary arrangement like a causeway could ease traffic,” he said.

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