The 80-year-old Walayar bridge, connecting Kerala and Tamil Nadu through National Highway 47, is feared to be in danger from poor maintenance and mining of sand, close to its pillars, from the Walayar river.
As a precaution, now vehicles are not allowed to stay in queue on the bridge for getting clearance from the Walayar inter-State check-posts.
On an average, 5,000 vehicles pass through the bridge on either side, half of them heavy goods carriers.
A number of ditches have developed on the bridge. The parapet walls on its left from the Kerala side were damaged when a heavy vehicle hit it some time ago.
The sand is being mined in violation of the stipulation that mining should not be done within 500 metres of bridges. A new bridge or the strengthening of the old bridge is urgently required, Thadikachalam, a lorry driver from Salem, who has been regularly bringing goods to Kerala for many years, said. The lorry jerked when crossing the bridge with a heavy load of goods, he complained.