Is a new bridge over Cauvery river on the cards?

Built in 1976, the Cauvery bridge has suffered extensive damage at some of the expansion joints.   | Photo Credit: M_SRINATH

With motorists commuting on the bridge across the Cauvery river in the city continuing to experience severe jolts due to gaps in the expansion joints despite repeated repairs by the Highways Department, residents of Srirangam are now clamouring for the construction of a new bridge.

A senior Highways Department official said they were planning to take up a study for rehabilitation of the existing bridge and also on the feasibility of constructing a new bridge. However, he indicated that the move was in still in the drawing board stage and constructing a new bridge will be a long term plan.

Built in 1976, the Cauvery bridge is a vital link connecting Tiruchi city with Srirangam and caters to a huge volume of traffic. Extensive damages to the road surface at some of the expansion joints in between the spans of the bridge forced the Highways Department to take up repairs repeatedly over the past few years.

In September 2018, the department officials had said that advanced guniting methods were used to repair the damaged edges. The work was taken up at six expansion joints where broken edges were identified. Repairs were taken up subsequently at a few other joints on the bridge. Yet gaps keep surfacing on the expansion joints of the bridge

“The gaps make for a back breaking ride. It is time the Highways Department came with a new bridge. Since it is vital link, there is a need for proper planning,” said T. M. Ranganathan, a resident of Srirangam.

Residents are exasperated over the repeated repairs without much relief. “The repairs have not helped; we are not sure whether any further rehabilitation of the bridge will also be fruitful as the gaps keep re-surfacing. It is better to go for a new bridge,” observed B. Hemanathan, president, Arangama Nagar Nala Sangam.

The Highways Department says it will initiate a proposal soon. “We are going to prepare an estimate for rehabilitating the bridge fully; we have deployed experts to study the structure right from its base on the river bed. In the meanwhile, a proposal to build a new bridge will be drawn up and forwarded to the government for approval,” said a senior official of the Highways Department

However, Highways officials are wary of giving a time frame for their plans to materialise. “Everything is under study right now. We cannot say when the rehabilitation or the proposal for a new bridge will be approved,” the official said.

When pointed out that a team from the Highways Research Station, Chennai, studied the bridge a few years back and had given its recommendations, the official conceded that the team had given its findings based on which some remedial measures were carried out on the road surface of the bridge. “We now want to diagnose the entire bridge,” he added.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 9:31:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/is-a-new-bridge-over-cauvery-river-on-the-cards/article32803487.ece

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