The Pamban Road Bridge is being renovated on a war footing to ensure the safety of motorists.
The road bridge stands between the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar and connects the two main lands - Mandapam and Pamban. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated the bridge in 1988.
An official source said the bridge is located in a highly-corrosive environment comparing to other coastal areas in the State. Anti-corrosive painting was carried out on the bridge in 1992 and 2002. However, the lights, electric poles and bearings were damaged and several cracks detected in the pillars of the bridge. The 2.5-km-long bridge has 78 concrete pillars. The Centre had earmarked Rs 18.57 crore to renovate the bridge, which plays a vital role in vehicular transport to Rameswaram from various parts of the country.
The National Highways Department officials have engaged a private contractor to renovate the bridge. Around 60 persons from various States have been engaged for the works. The NHAI officials have decided to replace 179 electric poles in the bridge and fix trendy lights.
Kannadasan, Junior Engineer, NHAI, said that it had been decided to replace 532 elastomeric spring bearings on the bridge and eight bearings would be fixed in each span. The damaged cables would be replaced during the renovation works, he added. A team of workers managed to remove the cracks in the pillars at Pamban and inject cement paste into it using modern technology. The NHAI department has called for tenders to lay a road for a distance of five kilometers between Muhuntharayar Chattiram and Dhanuskodi at an estimated cost of `20 crore. The road to Dhanuskodi was badly damaged in the 1964 Cyclone. The renovation works would be completed within a year. However, thid would not affect the Cauvery water supply, he added.