British-era steel bridge collapses in Tiruchi

British-era steel bridge collapses in Tiruchi

The British era bridge was an important part of modern Tiruchirappalli’s history. (DH Photo)

A 94-year-old steel bridge across the Kollidam river that connects Srirangam with mainland Tiruchirapalli, which was abandoned in 2016, collapsed in the wee hours on Sunday due to heavy discharge of water from Mettur dam for the past week.

The British era bridge was an important part of modern Tiruchirappalli’s history. The ageing steel bridge was replaced with a new bridge in February 2016. The steel bridge connected No 1 Tollgate on the mainland and Srirangam and was used by vehicles bound for Salem and Chennai.

Dramatic visuals of the steel bridge collapsing and falling into the Kollidam River, which is brimming with water for the past one week, went viral on social media. The collapse of the bridge was imminent since cracks began to develop over the last week with girders falling into the river.

Though the bridge was closed, district authorities did not take any chances after cracks began to appear last week and strengthened police presence near the structure to ensure no untoward incident took place. The 792-metre-long steel bridge had corroded due to poor maintenance, according to locals.

The Kollidam river branches out from the Cauvery at Mukkombu and most of the water flows into the sea, though some amount goes to Veeranam river, one of the drinking water sources for Chennai city.

With huge amounts of water being released from Mettur and Bhavani Sagar dams continuously, more than 7000 people living on the banks of the Bhavani and Cauvery rivers have been moved to safer areas.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami visited some of the camps in Erode district on Sunday morning and distributed relief materials to people lodged there.

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