After a gap of more than four decades, farmers at several villages around Kuchanur will be able to transport agricultural produces to markets in Theni quickly next year as State Highways has expedited construction of a bridge across Mullaperiyar river at Poolandhapuram village near here.
Pilgrims visiting Sri Saneeswarar Temple at Kuchanur too will benefit as the new bridge would reduce travel distance and time considerably.
At present, farmers and pilgrims have to travel at least 18 km to reach Theni through Bodendhipuram and Koozhaiyanur. The new bridge connecting Poolanadhapuram and Dindigul-Kumuli highway would reduce the travel to one third.
Local people said a ground-level bridge, the only road connectivity to Theni, was washed away in a flash flood in 1974. But no efforts were taken to renovate the bridge. A temporary structure created by the local people was the only way to cross the river.
“If there are floods, we cannot use this bridge. The new bridge will fulfil our four decades-old dream,” they said.
Talking to media persons after inspecting the bridge work at Poolanadhapuram on Wednesday, Collector N. Venkatachalam said the bridge was being constructed at an estimated cost of ₹6.32 crore, funded by NABARD through Rural Infrastructure Development Fund. Administrative sanction for the work was given in November 25, 2016, and the work would be over by August 2018.
The width of the four-span RCC deck slab superstructure bridge was 9.95 metres. Outer crash barrier and separate walkers’ path were erected on the bridge, he added.
Reacting to a question on new ring road to Theni, he said the government had sanctioned ₹22 lakh for a survey, which would be conducted soon.
Divisional Engineer (State Highways) D. Murugesan said the department had undertaken several road works to improve connectivity to major tourists’ spots. Chinnamanur-Highwayvs Ghat Road would be ready by December-end.