A facelift is to be given to the Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge, or the Pamban road bridge that connects the mainland to the island town of Rameswaram. As part of silver jubilee year of the the bridge, the facelift is being planned at a cost of Rs 18.57 crore. Renovation work on the 2.345-km-long bridge, inaugurated by the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on October 2, 1988, was heralded by special puja and prayers during Wednesday and Thursday.
Chennai-based Trinity and Co has partnered with Ramanathapuram-based MR Hitech Engineering for the renovation work. The National Highways authorities issued the work order on March 18. On April 10 the first batch of half a dozen workers began the grouting work to seal cracks in the splash zones of the piers to make them water-proof. More workers are expected to join them in the coming weeks.
Though the agreement has been signed to execute the works in one year, they will be completed ahead of the schedule, officials at the bridge site said. The bridge received anti-corrosive coats of paint in 1992 and 2002, though it should have been given once in five years as it was located in the world’s second highest corrosion prone area, the officials said. Besides a fresh coat of anti-corrosive paint, the bridge, for the first time, will be completely renovated, the officials said.
The bridge, with its arch-shaped design to allow ships to pass beneath it, is supported by 79 piers, 64 of which were built in the sea and the entire structure would be given anti-corrosive paint coat. As part of the renovation work, all the 592 old bearings would be replaced with new ones and expansion and finger joints fixed. The electric cables and the 174 lamp poles on both sides of the bridge would also be replaced with new cables, poles and LED lights.