Stronger, with tourist features: Idukki’s Cheruthoni to get new bridge

The proposed bridge will have two pillars named after mythological characters, a pedestrian pathway and boat services.
Stronger, with tourist features: Idukki’s Cheruthoni to get new bridge
Stronger, with tourist features: Idukki’s Cheruthoni to get new bridge
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Even though the people in Idukki district are yet to recover from the aftermath of the deluge and landslide in August 2018, the Cheruthoni, the district headquarters, is set to receive a new bridge, in addition to the existing bridge. The district, one of the worst-affected in the deluge, remained cut off from the rest of the state for weeks after the roads and bridges were destroyed. Hence, the proposed bridge on National Highway 185 is conceived as one that could resist a similar calamity.

Additionally, the bridge is also being conceived in a way to imbibe the historical background of the hilly district, which is known for dams. In fact, Idukki dam is perhaps the largest arch dam in Asia. Being built across the Periyar River, the proposed bridge in Cheruthoni will have two posts on either side. These posts will be called the Kuravan and Kurathi hills, named after two mythological characters.

“Generally, bridges will have multiple pillars. But, this causes obstructions that may even lead to a rise in the water level during natural calamities like floods. And hence, we decided to give the new bridge two pillars. Besides, the height of the bridge will be higher than the existing ones, to make it more resistant to calamities,” Idukki MP Joyce George told TNM.

During the 2018 floods, the Cheruthoni dam was opened to release excess water in the Idukki reservoir. Several bridges washed away in the subsequent floods. The existing Cheruthoni Bridge survived the floods, although the approach road of the bridge was destroyed affecting the traffic and isolating the district from the rest of the state. This made the authorities to come out with a fresh plan.

“The Cheruthoni Bridge survived the floods as it was built using Canadian technology, which could resist submersion. The Additional Director General of the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, who inspected the area post the floods, proposed the new bridge. After a meeting with State Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran, the proposal was sanctioned. The construction of the bridge is included in the Engineering Procurement Contract. The estimate is Rs 50 crore. As per the intimation we received, the announcement inviting bids will be made before the Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha elections comes into force. Normally, the works should complete in 18 months once the bid is received,” Joyce George added.

Other features

The proposed 140 meter-long and 16 meter-wide bridge will have pedestrian paths on both sides. A crash barrier will also be constructed to prevent vehicles from entering to the pedestrian path. Tow reservoirs will also be built on Periyar River on both sides of the bridge. A boating facility in the reservoir will also be added for tourist attraction. A road also will be built under the bridge at a five-meter distance from it. 

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