The British-era cast-iron bridge across Kollidam, Tiruchi --Why do the residents want the heritage bridge saved for the posterity?

The Steel girder bridge on stone piers on the Coleroon (Kollidam) River, Tiruchirappalli is an important British legacy  and was built by the British 90 plus years ago. The bridge acted as a link between the temple town of Srirangam on the island and the  the mainland on the north forming the city center colleges, bazaars, etc. . The792 meter long bridge  rests on 24 stone sturdy masonry  piers.  The cast-iron seel from the " Braithwaite & Company Engineers Limited ", England  was specifically made there and shipped  to the site here for erection\in 1928. This steel bridge was a unique landmark in this city famous for railway workshops and Uttchipilliyar temple atop a small hillock overlooking the rivers, etc.  No doubt the rust free  iron bridge had attracted the public and tourists for its engineering ingenuity. The construction began n 1924 and completed  in 1928.

Tiruchirappalli city TN. old narrow iron-girder bridge

Above image:Tiruchirapalli city Tamil Nadu. New bridge across the cauvery on the left; old narrow iron-girder bridge on the right. The bridge connects the temple town of Srirangam and other towns beyond. The bridge was in use till 2014.when a wider bridge came up to regulate heavy traffic.The narrow iron was used by the cyclists and pedestrians  for a couple of years. In 2016 the old bridge showed signs of strains and stress for reasons of poor upkeep and heavy flow of water during the NE Monsoon season.  Fallen into  a state of neglect and disuse the bridge became structurally weak and the iron showed several spots of rusting due to lack of fresh coat of paint. On the 19th of August 2018, as anticipated by the conservationists and heritage lovers,  the 18th pier gave way and plunged into the river that was  in spate;   the adjoining 19th pier also gave way soon too.  The iron bridge is a fine example of British engineering and the huge cast-iron girders used in the bridge were imported from England for construction. ................................

Gov. Madras Ist Viscount Goschen of

“The bridge was opened by His Excellency The Right Honourable Viscount Goschen of Hawkhurst, G.C.I.E., C.B.E., V.D., Governor of Madras, on the 24th January 1929,” the tablet reads. The reconstruction of the bridge began on 12th March, 1928 and was completed on 20th January 1929. Another tablet  reads  that “this bridge” (an apparent reference to old arched bridge) was dedicated to the memory of a group of Madras Army officers who had defended Trichinopoly with bravery and fortitude in 1752, 1754, contributing to the laying of the foundation of the British Empire in India and was “designed” and completed by Captain Edward Lawford, Madras Engineers, A.D.1849.”
Trichy, tablet old narrow iron-girder bridge

After the arrival of the British, road conditions  in India between towns and cities had improved and the British gave priority to the  improved  transportation by by laying Grand trunk roads, the railways and better harbors. The English company and later the british crown administration improved the infrastructures across india, using Indian revenues.. It was not heir intension to improve the quality of life pf the Indian natives. Rather the various modes of improved transportation were  to take the products/ produce from the hinterland to  the nearest market places or harbors for export to England and imported the finished products for sale in India with a big mark-up. The mark-up on the exports  and imports was way high  and they had double benefits like two barrel guns. 

Cap. Edward Lawford, Madras Engineers, 

Cast-iron  girder bridge across Kollidam, Trichy

In August 2018 the old steel bridge across the Kollidam river connecting Srirangam developed a major crack on one of its 23 piers due to the heavy flow of water - after release of 87,000 cusecs of water into the Kollidam from Mukkombu dam and this led to the collapse of a portion of the 792-metre-long bridge across the Kollidam.  The bridge was designed and built by Captain Edward Lawford  of the British Army in 1849, 98 years before India became an independent country......................

On the side of the bridge there is a memorial plaque to four officers of the Madras Army who served historically in the war between Chanda Sahib and the East India company during  the defense of Trichinopoly (anglicized spelling) between,1752 and 1754 under Captain Robert Clive, (who laid the foundation   for the British empire in Bengal- 1764)   Here  Clive led the British forces in support of Nawab of Arcot Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah against Chanda Sahib (who was not on good terms with the Nawab of Arcot), backed by the French Army, which was led by Governor General Joseph Fran├žois Dupleix (January 1697 – November 1763). After a prolonged siege, the British came out victorious. This unique historical old bridge across the river Cauvery is a mute spectator  of the hey days of the British power in this part of India and its legacy.  So, it is imperative that this bridge  should be preserved at any cost by the authorities concerned for our posterity. 

The IIA-Trichy Centre, wanted the bridge  protected and  preserved as a heritage landmark structure of Tiruchirappalli fo th posterity. Historical connectivity is important to know the growth of a region