The construction of a high-level bridge across the Ponnai, a tributary of the Palar, on the Chittoor-Tiruttani High Road started at Ponnai village near Katpadi on Wednesday.
Minister for Water Resources Duraimurugan laid the foundation for the ₹35-crore project at a ceremony near the river.
The bridge will replace the low-level bridge that gets flooded during monsoon. When it is flooded, residents from at least 10 villages have to take a detour of six km, through Arcot, to reach Katpadi and Old Town in Vellore.
“The old bridge is dilapidated. It can be used only by pedestrians. A few two-wheelers also use the old bridge,” said S. Munuswamy, a farmer of Ponnai village.
Funded under the Permanent Floods Restoration Scheme 2021-22, the bridge, which will be built by the Construction and Maintenance Wing of the State Highways Department, will be 297 metres long and 15 metres wide — enough for two buses to use it at a time. It will be supported by at least 16 pillars.
The bridge will have tiled footpaths, LED lights, inlets to discharge rainwater into the river, reflectors, sign boards and hand railings. The work is expected to be completed in 18 months.
Minister for Handlooms and Textiles R. Gandhi, S. Jagathrakshakan, MP (Arakkonam), A.P. Nandakumar, MLA, Anaicut, Collector P. Kumaravel Pandian, and officials took part at the event.