Mangaluru, Feb 3, 2019: Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel laid foundation stone for the construction of a new bridge across River Phalguni at Gurupura on February 2, Saturday.
The bridge, being built at a cost of Rs 39.42 crore, will be 175 metres long and will have seven piers of 25-metre each. The width of the bridge is 16 metres and the road will be 10-metre wide. The pedestrian path on either sides of the road will be 3-metre wide.
The connecting road will be 500 metres long on both the sides of the bridge. The bridge, which will be completed within 24 months, will be constructed by Mugrody Construction.
The old bridge in Gurupura is one of the oldest bridge in the district built in 1923, across the River Phalguni on Nanthoor-Moodbidri-Karkala National Highway 169, connecting Mangaluru.
The motorists fear that the bridge might collapse any time. The work on levelling the land beside the existing bridge has already commenced. According to authorities, a majority of the works will be completed this year itself.
The old bridge was 4.50-metre wide. Though the carrying capacity of the old bridge is good, the bottom portion of the bridge is rusted. The girders have weakened. The iron railings on the bridge have already disappeared.
Locals alleged that the bridge had not seen any maintenance for the past many years.
The edges of the old bridge are covered with a thick growth of shrubs during monsoon indicating lack of maintenance. The bridge is so narrow that only one bus or truck can travel on it at a given time and cannot bear the burden of heavy vehicles plying on it.
Speaking on the occasion, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said that the bridge was one of the most important bridges on Kulshekar-Moodbidri-Karkala highway.
Union Minister Nithin Gadkari immediately sanctioned the bridge after the technical experts opined that the old bridge can not be used for long, he added.
The MP said though the Centre had sanctioned four-laning of Kulshekar-Karkala National Highway in 2015, the work was delayed due to delay in land acquisition process. “Now, the notification has been issued and land acquisition process has commenced. By next year, the four-laning of the road will take a shape and will be ready.”
Kateel, further, said once the four-laning is complete, a bypass road will be built in Gurpura and the bridge will connect the bypass.
Under Bharathmala, four-laning of Mulki-Kateel-Kaikamba-B C Road stretch and Melkar-Konaje-K C Road will be taken up. The central government has released over Rs 2,000 crore for the development of national highways in Dakshina Kannada district. The work on four-laning of Addahole-B C Road was stopped for sometime. Now, the work has commenced, said Kateel.
The work on a new bridge on NH 66 at Kuloor across River Phalguni will be taken up shortly, he added.