Survey carried out by officials
Mettupalayam: Officials and workers hired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Thursday commenced their work on a diversion route at the site at which the Silver Bridge was washed away in the massive landslips on the Mettupalayam - Coonoor road on Tuesday.
The State highways department from all divisions in both the districts had already cleared the roadblocks on a war footing removing the huge trees and boulders in the last 72 hours.
The restoration of the road for light motor vehicle traffic began on Thursday.
The NHAI team led by General Manager, Rajesh Poonia, P. Manivannan - Manager (Technical) from Kovilpatti, S.T. Sridhar (Project Director - Coimbatore), I. Ponniah (Project Director-Salem) carried out a survey on the possible restoration works for immediate repairs of the road.
As planned earlier, a Bailey bridge at Palacode near Dharmapuri had been dismantled and the materials were on their way to the site, sources said.
Meanwhile, bridge experts from NHAI, Bangalore and New Delhi have arrived to plan the course of action.
However, the NHAI was also contemplating on constructing a concrete bridge instead of a Bailey bridge at the site from where the silver bridge was washed away.
The bridge washed away measured 21 metre in length and seven metre in width.
As a temporary measure to restore traffic at least for light motor vehicles, a diversion route is being laid by placing 12 huge concrete pipes in four rows for enabling water from the rivulets to flow through. The temporary diversion road would be laid over these pipes.
The earthmovers and other gadgets were pressed into work for levelling the undulated terrain for laying the temporary diversion route.
It would be completed within seven days, officials said.
Enough men, machinery and materials have been mobilised to carry out the work on a war footing, NHAI sources said.
The District Collectors Neeraj Mittal (Coimbatore) and Santhosh K. Misra (the Nilgiris) had requested the Chief Secretary to seek the help of defence personnel for immediate restoration of the bridge.
A four-member team of road and bridge experts of the Military Engineering Services from Bangalore led by Col. Dev is arriving on Friday morning to assess the damage and begin the restoration work.