Deepa H Ramakrishnan
Opened for traffic in 1965, this facility is now beset with a lot of gaps at joints
CHENNAI: Plans are afoot to strengthen bridges in the city that are over 30-years-old. In the first phase, Chennai Corporation will take up the work on several bridges, including Kodambakkam road overbridge.
Many users of the facility in Kodambakkam, which was opened for traffic in 1965, say that owing to the wear and tear, gaps have formed at the joints. Some of the gaps are as big as pot-holes. Though some have been filled with tar, the rest pose problems for the motorists and even affect smooth flow of traffic.
Motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, find this difficult at night or during rain when the visibility is low. “The holes are there on one side. If there is a traffic jam there is no way that we can negotiate around the gaps. It is not a smooth ride any more,” said K. Murugan, an autorickshaw driver.
Many pedestrians use the footpaths on either side with a large number of them climbing down the one that leads to the Kodambakkam railway station. The concrete slabs on the footpaths are laid in haphazard manner and covered with mud and rubbish. R.Muthukumar, a resident of Rangarajapuram, said a new road overbridge had been a long-pending demand of the locals but it remains unfulfilled till date.
The civic body had floated a tender sometime ago for appointing a consultant for the bridge strengthening work. But as there was no response, the Corporation is planning to take up the work on its own. The maintenance work includes replacement of bearings and strengthening of joints and is expected to begin by March.
The Corporation has now sought the assistance of the State Highways Department, which was maintaining the bridge till a couple of years ago. The bridge was constructed by the Highways in association with the railway. The foundation stone for the bridge, which is 32 feet wide, was laid in September 1963 and work completed in September 1965.
After the Kodambakkam Bridge, similar strengthening work would be carried out on the Parthasarathy Bridge in Mint.
The Corporation maintains a total of 69 bridges, including 23 across the Buckingham Canal, 11 over the Cooum River, 5 over the Adyar River, 18 over the Otteri Nullah and 4 over the Captain Cotton Canal.