The renovation work on the dilapidated old Mattanchery bridge will begin soon with the Public Works Department (PWD) planning to start tender proceedings soon. The authorities had given administrative sanction for the renovation of the bridge the other day.
According to Dominic Presentation MLA, the government had sanctioned Rs 69 lakh for the bridge work.
“The bridge, which was once the lifeline of the public, is currently in a pathetic state. It was shut down for traffic when the new bridge was sanctioned. However, bikers still use the bridge and the potholes prove to be a risk for pillion riders. Once the renovation work is over, a huge per cent of the traffic can be diverted through the bridge,” he said.
A detailed discussion on how traffic on the bridge can be diverted and the steps to be taken will be discussed at a meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram on June 25. PWD Minister V K Ibrahim Kunju, Union Minister K V Thomas and PWD officials will be present at the meet.
According to the executive engineer entrusted with the renovation, they had submitted an estimate for Rs 60 lakh for the renovation of the bridge a few months back.
“Initially, the bridge was in the hands of the Port Trust. When it started to dilapidate, the officials decided to entrust it to the PWD. Though no official handing-over procedures had taken place, we decided to take over the maintenance work as per the orders of the PWD Minister. The tenders will soon be called for the renovation work,” the engineer said.
Works such as anti-rusting painting on the bridge which would cost around Rs 20 lakh would also be taken up.
Currently, iron planks have been placed in the bridge. However, this poses a risk for commuters.
“Once the bridge is strengthened, requests will be submitted to open the bridge for three-wheelers and cars. If the bridge becomes fully operational, the traffic congestion along the Thoppumpady-Mattanchery route can be brought down,” Dominic Presentation said.
According to officials, the bridge, which was commissioned in 1940 is being used by people from Chellanam, Fort Kochi and Mattanchery.