Loss of British - era heritage Kollidam old steel-girder bridge, Tiruchi - Can it be saved?

Tiruchi Kollidam steel bridge, deccanherald.com

Above image: The  792 meter long  steel-girder bridge  was placed on the  sturdy 24 stone piers across the river Kollidam (used to be Coleroon). The steel bridge was made by " Braithwaite & Company Engineers Ltd " in England and the parts were shipped to the  worksite via Madras.  Erected in 1928, it was a landmark heritage bridge made of cast-iron steel for better durability and was an engineering marvel then  and got the attention of the public...................... 

Tiruchi Kollidam steel bridge,  timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Since India's independence, we have kept losing countless colonial heritage buildings, bungalows, Dak houses, clock towers, road and railway bridges. Besides contributing factors like time, aging,  climatic changes, lack of maintenance, the  primary reason  was official apathy. In a scenario like this the onus is on the .politicians  resenting particular areas  who  should see to it  such structures, etc.,  of  by-gone time  have to be preserved to keep the historic connectivity. 

That a portion of a 90-year-old  historical steel bridge across Kollidam river that connects Srirangam island  with mainland Tiruchirapalli,  collapsed and washed away in the floods  of  August 2018 is yet another sad story. This British-era bridge was the lifeline of this city for a long period connecting  No 1 Tollgate in the mainland and Srirangam.  It was the main route for  Salem and Chennai bound vehicles. Instead of abandoning it in 2016, had the state govt, continued to maintain   the steel bridge  periodically, this tragic breakup  of a part of the bridge would not have  happened. The collapse (18th and 19th piers went down)  was imminent as cracks had been developed in some places over a period of time. Apparently, the British used special cast -iron steel for the bridge for extra strength.  The bridge corroded due to poor maintenance, according to local residents

When the collapse occurred around 1 am  about 1.5 lakh cuisses of water was flowing in the Kollidam river. During the monsoon season that year  heavy rains in the Kodaku area of  Karnataka caused severe flooding and damages to the building near the river  there.  

Steel bridge across Kollidam, Tiruchi to be demolished. thehindu.com

When the catchment area of the Cauvery in Karnataka (Kodaku) receives lots of rain during the SW monsoon (June to early Sept.)  excess water coming  here is diverted into the Kollidam river,  a tributary of river Cauvery and branches out from the main river in Mukkombu in Tiruchirapalli. The river was in spate and a large  portions of steel bridge broke lose and fell into the raging water. The crux of the matter is when  a  new bridge was opened up roughly 15 meter away  for traffic in February 2016, that month on the  792-metre-long steel bridge  was left abandoned for good. 

Under the British Raj, the work on the bridge  with 24 spans took roughly four years and completed in 1928. It  replaced a pre-existing brick-arched  masonry bridge that was washed away in the floods then.  

In February 2019  the TN Govt. took a major decision to demolish the  the  remaining old steel-girder bridge. I wish the govt. had taken steps to preserve the remaining bridge as a vestige of colonial heritage bridge  in this part of Tiruchi.