Staff Reporter

It has been built at a cost of Rs.360 lakhs

Thiruvananthapuram: Overcoming several administrative setbacks and a cost escalation of over 300 per cent, the Thrikkannapuram bridge across the Karamana river has finally become a reality after 10 years of uncertainty. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is scheduled to inaugurate the bridge at a function to be held at Thrikkannapuram on Wednesday.

It was in 1971 that the Government first decided to construct the bridge, following the death of 11 persons in a boat accident. The then Minister for Public Works T.K. Divakaran visited the accident site and promised to build a bridge. The plan, however, remained on paper after the Defence Headquarters failed to clear a proposal to foot 50 per cent of the project cost.

The bridge opens up a shorter route to the Army's firing range at Mookkunnimala.

In 1993, the UDF Government accorded administrative sanction for the project after the then Finance Minister Oommen Chandy approved an outlay of Rs.118 lakhs. It took another three years for the tendering process to be completed. In 1996, the then Chief Minister A.K. Antony laid the foundation stone and work commenced.

But the project was in a limbo till 2005 without budgetary support. The work finally resumed last year.

Thiruvananthapuram East MLA B. Vijayakumar said the bridge was another milestone in the UDF Government's effort to spur the development of the capital city.

The new bridge has been completed at a cost of Rs.360 lakhs, more than three times the original estimate.

Built to accommodate two-lane traffic, it is 8.4 metres wide and 84.6 metres long and spans the water level at a height of 16.2 metres. The approach roads cover a distance of 500 metres.