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Residents want to keep old steel bridge

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For many, especially the senior citizens in Trichy, the move to dismantle the ageing Kollidam steel bridge is a disturbing thought. A generation has fond memories associated with the damaged old bridge, which is often identified with the image of the city. While the state government is keen on dismantling it, residents have sought authorities not to demolish the structure, but maintain the British-era bridge as a heritage monument.

Few days after developing a crack, two piers of the old Kollidam steel bridge collapsed on August 19, 2018 reportedly due to the heavy flow of water in Kollidam River. Sources said that the state government is likely to dismantle the bridge built in 1928 as the 792-metre bridge was closed for vehicles ever since a new parallel bridge across Kollidam was built in 2014. However, the decision did not go well with the long-time residents of Trichy who find the steel bridge as an identity of the city. "The government should not demolish the old steel bridge. The facility can be renovated and maintained as we cannot build such a steel bridge in near future. Authorities should consider seriously about maintaining and leaving the existing structure as it is," M Sekaran, member of the Road Safety Council said.

While the state highways department claimed that the renovation work on old Kollidam bridge may cost not less than a crore, locals said restoration should be carried out considering the rich heritage of the steel bridge. "INstead of demoliting the bridge, the government should strengthen the old bridge as it holds a lot of memories for the residents," C Balasubramanian, honourary president, Trichy district Exnora said. "Since we have a new bridge parallel to it, it is doubtful to spend a lot of money on restoring the old bridge," an official source said.

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