CHENNAI: Deemed as a potential safety risk, Southern Railway is to reconstruct the ‘structurally weak’ side walls of the Dr Nair Bridge, which connects Periyar EVR High Road and Police Commissioner’s Office Road at Egmore.
The Road-over-Bridge (RoB), below which runs the Egmore - Tambaram railway line, was built in 1998. But, in the last two decades the structure had become weak. As a result, there was a deviation in the side walls that was noticed last year.
Since, there is a possibility of a wall breach and falling of the debris onto the tracks, divisional railway authorities have decided to demolish the existing wall and reconstruct it in a phased manner. The length of side walls (on both sides) of the road measures nearly 120 metres.
A senior railway official said the weak structure posed a huge risk. Hence, in May this year, a contractor was engaged for strengthening three RoBs within Chennai division, including the Dr. Nair bridge, at an estimated cost of ` 75 lakhs.
The reconstruction work is to be carried out in two phases, the official said. “As part of the first phase, a particularly vulnerable section (20 metres) of the wall on either side, was demolished a few weeks ago. Barricades have been placed around that section to warn pedestrians about the ongoing work.” The reconstruction work on that stretch is likely to be completed within this month. “Following this, the remaining wall will be reconstructed by November,” the officer added.
Meanwhile, locals apprehend that the temporary barricades might not be sufficient to prevent persons under influence of liquor or speeding vehicles from falling off the bridge. Calling for the work to be expedited, J Gnanasekaran, a resident of Kilpauk, said, “The bridge has been weak for some time now. Railways should ensure the work is finished as early as possible.”