The 100-year-old Pamban Bridge’s navigational span of 88 metres would have survived the December 1964 cyclone but an expert says that it is time to think of replacing the historic Scherzer Span that has served its life.
Addressing reporters here on Monday after opening a photo exhibition, E Sreedaran, principal advisor of Delhi Metro, said that Scherzer Span, named after William Scherzer who designed the span, has lived its utility and it can be replaced using modern technology.
Sreedharan, who created history by restoring the Pamban Bridge within 46 days after it was destroyed by a cyclone in 1964 said that it is expensive to raise the bridge as it would cost a minimum of `1,000 crore. He said that it is possible to replace the steel girders in Pamban bridge with concrete ones.
It may be noted here that Sreedharan has been involved in three key projects. These include the Delhi metro project, Konkan Railways and restoration of Pamban bridge. But it is the Pamban bridge restoration in 1964 that is close to his heart. He said the railways initially thought it was not worthwhile to restore the bridge and plans were on to build a road bridge. However, the railways then agreed to restore the bridge and gave a six- month deadline to complete the work. But the then Southern Railway general manager B C Ganguli had other plans and he asked his then executive engineer Sreedharan to finish the work in three months.
“We finished it in 46 days,” says Sreedharan adding that he worked with an excellent team of engineers including labour force from Canada. “It is a divine dispensation that I had the opportunity to restore the bridge,” Sreedharan said.
To a query on whether he prefers Chennai to go in for Monorail or Metro, Sreedharan said that Monorail should serve as a feeder service while the main corridors of the city should be Metro.