Construction of new Pamban rail bridge has been progressing at a slower pace than its schedule. Only 18% of the sea bridge work has been completed even as more than 65% of the planned time has elapsed.
Out of the 333 pile foundations that need to be erected for the 2,078-metre-long bridge, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited has completed only 57 pile foundations till the fourth week of December as per the reply given by the executing agency to a query under Right to Information Act.
“The work is going on at a very slow pace. While the project has been planned to be completed by August 2021 (24 months), as on date, not even one-fifth of the work has got over,” said Pandiaraja, an activist.
Stating that the existing Pamban bridge, which is more than 100 years old, has shown semblance of wear and tear, he said already train movement had to be suspended twice for few days in the last few years.
“Even recently, train services had to be short terminated at Mandapam railway station after the sensors installed (by IIT-Madras to continuously monitor the stability of the bridge) raised an alarm,” he said.
Under this situation, early commissioning of new Pamban bridge assumed significance for uninterrupted rail movement between the mainland and Rameswaram island.
The new bridge, to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 270.90 crore, will have substructure for double track on the seabridge though the superstructure will be laid with only one track now.
RVNL will make use of 20,000 cubic metres of concrete, 2,250 tonnes of reinforcement steel and 4,060 tonnes of structural steel, according to RVNL.
The new bridge will have a lifespan of 100 years.