British-era steel bridge collapses in Trichy

Kollidam is a tributary of river Cauvery and branches out from the main river in Mukkombu in Tiruchirapalli

A portion of a 90-year-old steel bridge across Kollidam river that connects Srirangam with mainland Tiruchirapalli, which was abandoned in 2016, collapsed and washed away in the floods early Sunday. Picture courtesy Twitter

A portion of a 90-year-old steel bridge across Kollidam river that connects Srirangam with mainland Tiruchirapalli, which was abandoned in 2016, collapsed and washed away in the floods early Sunday.

Two cracked piers of the bridge, which was constructed during the British regime and is an important part of modern Tiruchirappalli's history, were washed away in the raging stream.

Kollidam is a tributary of river Cauvery and branches out from the main river in Mukkombu in Tiruchirapalli. The ageing steel bridge was replaced with a new bridge 10 to 15 meters away that was opened to traffic in February 2016.

The steel bridge was crucial connect between No 1 Tollgate in the mainland and Srirangam and was used by vehicles bound for Salem and Chennai.

Dramatic visuals of the steel bridge collapsing and falling into Kollidam River, which is brimming with water for the past one week, went viral on the 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 chance after cracks began to appear last week and strengthened police presence near the structure to ensure no untoward incident takes place. River Kollidam branches out from Cauvery in Mukkombu and most of the water that flows merge into the sea, though some amount goes to Veeranam river, one of the drinking water sources for Chennai city.

The 792-metre-long steel bridge corroded due to poor maintenance, according to locals. 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 place.

With heavy rains still pounding catchment areas of Cauvery, the inflow into Mettur dam was 2 lakh cusecs prompting authorities in the districts through which the river flows to move those living in low-lying areas to safety.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami visited flood-affected areas in Erode district and has assured compensation for the crop loss due to the floods caused by heavy discharge of water from the dams. 

Presently, inflow into the Bhavanisagar dam is 21,000 cusecs and discharge are 3,000 cusecs. From the Mettur reservoir the outflow is 2 lakh cusecs and the inflow are about 1.95 lakh cusecs, Palaniswami told reporters after visiting people affected in the floods in relief camps.

Palaniswami said the Government was extending all help to the people whose houses were damaged due to inundation caused by the release of excess wa= ter from dams.

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British-era steel bridge collapses in Trichy

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