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Motorists shocked to find gaping hole in bridge at Vallanaadu

A huge hole that suddenly developed in the four-year-old bridge across the Tamirabharani at Vallanaadu on the Palayamkottai – Thoothukudi National Highway on Thursday night has shocked motorists as it is capable of triggering serious accidents.

When the 48-km-long Palayamkottai – Thoothukudi stretch was upgraded into four-lane in 2013, a new bridge was constructed across the Tamirabharani near Vallanaadu as the existing bridge was narrow.

After this stretch was opened, the bridge is being used by motorists.

As a 2-feet-wide huge hole suddenly developed on the Palayamkottai – Thoothukudi two-lane stretch of the bridge around Thursday midnight, drivers who were crossing this ‘danger point’ alerted the Murappanaadu police, who rushed to the spot to ban traffic along this stretch. The drivers were asked to cautiously take the Thoothukudi – Palayamkottai stretch between Vallanaadu and Murappanaadu.

“A huge hole developing in a four-year-old bridge on a National Highway tells us clearly the quality of materials used to construct the bridge on this busy thoroughfare and the contractor’s commitment in laying this stretch.

The compromise in quality tells us the quantum of corruption pervades in awarding this contract. The officials concerned should be taken to task as they have compromised on the safety of the travelling public who pay sizeable amount as toll every time to use this dangerous stretch,” said T. Ramakrishnan, a businessman from Nagercoil.

He also said a dangerous pit on the stretch between Vallanaadu pumping station and Theivaseyalpuram was yet to be closed despite repeated appeals to the officials.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials, who termed it as “minor damage” after inspecting the spot on Friday morning, said concrete would be laid afresh to plug the hole after fixing steel plates beneath to hold the concrete mixture.

“After four lorries carrying components of a wind turbine generators, crossed this point the hole has developed. There is no compromise in quality,” they claimed.