Mohamed Nazeer

Central nod awaited

for new bridge

Government has issued orders for acquiring land

KANNUR: The closure of the Moidu bridge at Dharmadom after one of its beams was found to have shifted on June 19 has affected traffic in the Kannur-Kozhikode route of the National Highway 17 and has also revived the demand for a new bridge parallel to the existing steel bridge, which has been in a dilapidated condition for many years as a result of corrosion.

The proposal for the construction of a new bridge across the Anjarakkandy river to replace the Moidu bridge has been under the consideration of the Public Works Department for a long time. The sanction of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) was awaited. The Moidu bridge, which was constructed in 1930, has been under repair since September 2007 when one of its girders sank as a result of corrosion. An increase in the number of vehicles, including heavy vehicles, passing through the bridge located between Kannur and Thalassery has led to the deterioration of the condition of the bridge already threatened by corrosion. Bridge repair and strengthening works were under way when the beam was found to have shifted, forcing the officials to close the road. The proposal for constructing the new bridge parallel to the Moidu bridge has been pending before the Ministry. Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan directed the Public Works Principal Secretary in September 2007 to submit a revised proposal for constructing the new bridge on the NH 17.

It is still early days to say when the proposed four-lane to be developed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will become a reality. It is expected to be years before the four-lane highway can replace the existing highway. So the demand for constructing the bridge parallel to the Moidu bridge has never been stronger. The officials here say that Public Works Minister Mons Joseph is expected to take up the issue with the Union Minister T.R. Baalu at a meeting in New Delhi on June 24.

Orders issued

Meanwhile, the State government has issued orders for acquiring land for developing approach roads for the proposed parallel bridge. T. Damodaran, Executive Engineer of the NH Division here, told The Hindu that the approach roads will have 20 metre width on the Dharmadom side and Muzhappilangad side of the river.

While 2.2 acre land has to be acquired on the Dharmadom side, 1.4 acre land has to be taken over on the Muzhappilangad side, he says. The proposed bridge project includes development of a five-span bridge and approaches on either side, he said.