NAGAPATTINAM: Wooden bridges in Nagapattinam district have come under the scanner as rainwater surges along waterways going towards the sea. Many of these bridges, which connect villages across the drain rivers and channels and irrigation channels, have snapped.
Fifteen such bridges have had to go undergo urgent repairs due to the problem.
The most recent bridge to have been damaged by the surge is one that connects two villages near Kilvelur across the Vettaru river near Kilvelur and which is yet to be repaired.
The 120-metre-long wooden bridge which connects Vilambakkam and Gokkur snapped and was washed away a few weeks ago.
The bridge was made of palm wood and logs and constructed two years ago by the Rural Development department at a cost of Rs 6 lakh.
Since the bridge is no more, parents are forced to carry their children on their heads. While some of the bridges are completely made of wood, others have concrete pillars and wooden boards.
The hybrid bridge which connects Poochi Nagar and Yathavapuram areas of Prathabaramapuram village near Kilvelur was washed away in Cyclone Gaja.
“It is heartening to see more wooden bridges gradually being replaced with ones made of concrete. Some wooden bridges are intact due to the narrow width of the waterway and a lesser surge of water, but the wooden bridges across the waterway which are wider need to be replaced. The administration should attend to them,” said C Subramaniyan, a farmer from Thalaignayiru.
According to the Rural development department, it costs Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh to repair a wooden bridge.
The department said there are over 50 such wooden bridges in Kilvelur, Keezhaiyur, Thalaignayiru and Vedaranyam blocks.
A senior department official said, “Around 15 such wooden bridges have been repaired in the past few months. We are fixing many of them temporarily and planning permanent solutions for the worst affected. The Vilambakkam and Gokkur wooden bridge, for instance, would be replaced by a concrete bridge for Rs 6 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).”