Staff Reporter

KARUR: Traffic on New Amaravathy Bridge, the approach road of which was damaged in the recent floods, is likely to resume in the first week of the New Year. Work on repairing the damaged portion has been under way at a hectic pace in the bridge since December 24 and is expected to be over soon, paving the way for traffic resumption, sans any toll.

The repair works planned include removing the debris of the collapsed retaining wall and the parapet adjacent to the two-wheeler pathway on the Thirumanilayur side and sand filling of the basement of the approach road that was washed away in the current of the floods, to prevent any further erosion. Official sources indicated that repair work was under way in 7.5 metres of the total 13.5 metres width of the bridge on the Thirumanilayur side.

Officials confer that traffic would resume once a stability certificate is obtained from the Structural Engineering Research Centre, Chennai, a CSIR subsidiary. The Centre's officials were at the bridge recently and expected to be back once the Highways officials intimated completion of the repair work to them, later this week. The SERC would conduct load tests to check the stability of the bridge. Only after they certify the stability, would vehicular traffic be allowed on the bridge, the sources added.

After sand filling and retaining wall construction, initially only light vehicle traffic would be allowed over the bridge and after the surface sets in and is black topped, heavier vehicles would be allowed, the sources said.

The bridge was entrusted with the Highways Department following a Government Order on December 19 last and repair works commenced on December 24. However, the public expect the local authorities to impress upon the State Government the need to complete all the repair works expeditiously and allow two-way regular traffic on the bridge as soon as possible.