NHAI begins removal of plants beneath Punalur bridge

Earlier reports by TNIE highlighted the risk posed by plants growing on the beams and handrails to the bridge’s structural integrity.
A worker of NHAI removing the plants beneath the Punalur bridge
A worker of NHAI removing the plants beneath the Punalur bridgePhoto | Express

KOLLAM: The process of removing plants growing beneath the Punalur bridge, also known as Valiyapalam, has been initiated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The bridge runs parallel to the century-old Punalur hanging bridge on the Kollam-Tirumangalam National Highway. NHAI officials have stated that the entire removal process is scheduled to be completed within four days. Earlier reports by TNIE highlighted the risk posed by plants growing on the beams and handrails to the bridge’s structural integrity.

An NHAI official said, “The growth of trees has been identified as a threat to the stability of the bridge. To prevent regrowth, trees are being cut down and their roots destroyed using chemicals. Previously, banyan saplings growing on the suspension bridge, which is a protected monument, were also removed similarly.”

Last year, the Punalur municipality requested the NHAI to address the issue of plants growing on the bridge. As a result, an NHAI official submitted a comprehensive report on the condition of the Punalur bridge to the NHAI head office in Thiruvananthapuram, seeking funds for its maintenance. The NHAI approved Rs 2.30 lakh for the tree removal and awarded a private contract for the task.

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