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Transport Minister seeks to expedite work on new Vallakkadavu bridge 

Transport minister Antony Raju calls for high-level meeting today, Vehicles continue to pass through the dilapidated 132-yr-old bridge

Published: 11th April 2022 06:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2022 06:49 AM   |  A+A-

Vehicles pass through the old Vallakkadavu bridge | Special arangement

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  With the long-pending project to construct a new bridge at Vallakkadavu remaining a non-starter, Transport Minister Antony Raju, who is also the local MLA, has called a high-level meeting on Monday to speed up the proceedings. Though the PWD authorities have managed to complete a temporary bridge near the old one, vehicles -- including heavy ones --continue to pass through the 132-year-old bridge, which is in a dilapidated condition. The temporary bridge is yet to be opened to traffic. 

Disputes regarding the land acquisition for the approach road is cited as the reason for the slowing down of the proceedings to build the new bridge. The 125-metre structure is estimated to cost around Rs 15 crore. All stakeholders -- including PWD and revenue department officials, and ward councillors -- are scheduled to participate in the meeting. 

As many as 30 landowners have agreed to surrender their land to facilitate the construction of the bridge. But even after a decade, the revenue authorities are yet to initiate steps to acquire the land. According to P Padmakumar, the Perunthanni councillor, the delay on the part of the revenue department authorities due to the dispute prevailing in the area has led to the current situation. “Once the disputes are settled, the tender can be floated for the work on the bridge. But it appears that resolving the issue will take at least six more months,” he said. 

Around one acre is required for the purpose. The local residents said that, despite the PWD putting up a warning board restricting the entry of vehicles weighing above three tonnes on the old bridge, heavy vehicles continue to ply on the bridge.  A senior official of the PWD (bridges wing) said it will begin work on the new bridge only after the revenue department hands over the land. 

“The 11.(1) notification regarding land acquisition has already been issued. We are in the process of completing the valuation of the bridge structure. There are no disputes so far as the social impact assessment study did not point out any. So the proceedings are nearing completion and the disbursement of compensation to the landowners will begin soon after a revised administrative sanction is issued. The minister’s meeting will further speed up the processedings,” the official said.

Rs 15-cr project 
The 125m structure is estimated to cost around Rs15 crore. All stakeholders — including PWD and revenue department officials — will participate in the meeting



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