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NIT- Trichy team checks Cauvery Bridge

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Two days after a 46-year-old woman lost her life as she stepped on a faulty pedestrian slab and fell through the cavity on the old Cauvery Bridge, a team of three experts from the civil engineering department of NIT-Trichy inspected the structure on Thursday. Though the 51-year-old bridge was cited as structurally intact by them, pedestrian platforms were found to be weak at certain spots.
Tragedy struck Lalitha, a pilgrim heading to Samayapuram on foot, as she plunged through the damaged pedestrian platform on the old Cauvery Bridge on the Chennai bypass. Her 20-year-old daughter sustained severe injuries as she tried to rescue her mother but eventually fell into the same cavity.
NHAI Trichy Project Implementation Unit (PIU) had sought for a report on the incident from the Trichy-Padalur Tollway Private Limited maintaining the stretch of NH45.

As the private firm requested for technical help from NIT Trichy, a three-member team headed by professor K Muthukumaran inspected the old Cauvery Bridge including the pillars, pedestrian platforms and spans on Thursday noon.
“The bridge as a structure is intact and stable. A portion of RCC pedestrian slabs on the bridge was seen to have deteriorated and such slabs should be replaced scientifically,” Muthukumaran, who heads the civil engineering department of NIT-Trichy, said. The team has also taken photographs of the old Cauvery Bridge for analysis besides seeking technical specifications of the bridge from NHAI for detailed study.
NHAI sources said that based on the NIT-T team’s report, modification works would be taken up to ensure safety of the users. NHAI had prohibited the entry of pedestrians to the bridge after the accident on Tuesday. “Based on the suggestions in the technical report of the NIT professors, Trichy-Padalur Tollway Private Limited, which is the concessionaire of the stretch, will do the required modification works,” Sankara Subramaniam, project director, Trichy Project Implementation Unit (PIU), NHAI told TOI.
The NIT-Trichy team is likely to submit its report within a week to NHAI for scientific replacement of the damaged pedestrian platforms.


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