Rs. 9-crore project to rebuild dilapidated bridge across South Buckingham Canal.

For residents of Paramankeni, located close to the backwaters of Mudaliarkuppam on East Coast Road (ECR), travelling to other parts of ECR is fraught with danger.

They take a hazardous ride on a dilapidated narrow bridge across South Buckingham Canal to avoid a detour. There is now good news for them: after several years of delay, the nearly Rs. 9-crore project to rebuild the bridge across the 70 metre-wide-canal is expected to be started in two months.

For several years now, the bridge has been the sole means of connectivity for the residents to other parts of the East Coast Road.

Several schoolchildren and over 1,500 families of neighbouring fishing hamlets of Maduvankarai and Seekanankuppam take this 30-year-old bridge every day.

Residents said they otherwise had to take a detour of nearly 6 km through villages like Mugaiyur.

P. Kamalakannan, a resident of Paramankeni, said: “The bridge is in a bad shape and the iron rods in the pillars are visible. When the water flow was high during the floods, we used 15 boats to cross the canal. Now, the water level in the canal is low and we have to use the bridge.”

Residents demand that the bridge be constructed soon. Sandbags placed to support the structure may not last long. Officials of the Water Resources Department, which will execute the project, said tender would be finalised by the end of this month for the project sanctioned under the assistance of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The work to construct a 5.25-metre-wide bridge will be completed in six months.