THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The century-old Kundamankadavu bridge in the capital is set to become a cultural hub. Efforts are on to declare the 119-year-old steel suspension bridge a heritage monument as well.The ancient bridge is still used by motorists though a new concrete bridge was constructed adjacent to it in 2015. At present traffic is allowed only in one direction on the old bridge. But the thin traffic on the bridge has led to another evil - waste dumping under the bridge and on the approach road.
People of Vilappil and Vilavoorkkal panchayats have now started a movement to protect the bridge from waste dumping. Recently, a public meeting convened by Kattakkada MLA I B Satheesh took some bold decisions to conserve the structure. They include regular night beats by residents’ association members under the leadership of local body leaders.
The meeting was attended by elected members of Vilappil and Vilavoorkkal panchayats, local police and various residents’ associations. A hi-mast lamp will be installed to make the bridge more attractive in nights. The lamp and a round-the-clock CCTV surveillance to identify waste dumpers will be set up using the local area development fund of Satheesh.
The MLA said he has approached the Archaeology Minister to declare the bridge a heritage monument. “There isn’t a similar structure in the state. The suspension bridge was built by the British and maintained by the military. It deserves to be conserved as a heritage structure,” he said.Archaeology Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran will lead a team of experts from his department who will visit the bridge this week to prepare a conservation master plan.
Efforts have also been started to establish a biodiversity park under the bridge. “The park will come up on the riverbank. The State Biodiversity Board has been asked to submit a plan for this,” Satheesh said.
“We also plan to make the bridge a cultural corridor modelled on the Manaveeyam Veedhi. On one evening every week the bridge will host a cultural programme,” he said.