The reconstruction and repair of the historical Lushington Bridge at Sathegala in Kollegal, which collapsed owing to heavy rains and floods in August 2018, will commence in the first week of December.
The work is expected to take at least a year and though the cost of the repair was pegged at nearly ₹2 crore, it is being revised as two more spans of the nearly 200-year-old bridge gave way and collapsed during the recent floods.
About a 20-m span, of the nearly 400-m long bridge, was washed away due to turbulent flow in the river in 2018.
The work has been authorised by the State Department of Archaeology and Heritage and the repair works have been delayed repeatedly due to surge in water flow in the recent months.
It is normal for civil works to be kept in abeyance during monsoon when the volume of flow in the river is high. But once the water level reaches normal levels and flood waters recede, the works commence again.
But this year, there was no respite from the rain and the release of water from the reservoirs in the upstream.
Though the contractors responsible for the construction placed sandbags to divert the water flow and strengthen the foundation of the bridge, there was a sudden surge in outflow from the reservoir again sometime a few weeks ago. As a result of the entire plan and time frame went haywire, according to officials.
Meanwhile, a revised estimation is being prepared to take up the repair and reconstruction of two more spans of the bridge which collapsed this year due to the strong current of the Cauvery which was in spate during August/September. According to sources, the repair and reconstruction of the additional section of the bridge may cost an additional ₹80 lakh.
Though the exact year of the construction of the bridge is disputed, there are references to it in the Mysore Gazetteer published in the early part of the last century. It was constructed sometime between 1830 and 1832 and named after Lushington who was the Governor of Madras between 1827 and 1835.
It is similar in design to the Wellesley Bridge at Srirangapatana which was constructed between 1802 and 1804 by Diwan Purnaiah, as per the Gazette.
In popular parlance, the Lushington Bridge is also known as “Wellesely Bridge” and the original name of the structure is fading from public memory.