Work on replacing old girders and the Scherzer span on the over 100-year-old Pamban rail bridge here would begin in September and be completed within three months, a railways official said today. Speaking to reporters here after inspecting the bridge, Southern Railway Chief Engineer (Bridges) M Suyambulingam said after modification and modernisation of the cantilever bridge, lifting and lowering of the span could be done automatically, and manually in case of power cuts.
The Scherzer span is a rolling lift that helps the bridge open up to allow ships to pass. Once refurbishing is done, it would take only 45 seconds to open the span to allow ships to pass through, and then close it, he said. The trains would be able to run at a speed of 45 KM per hour, instead of the present 15 KM on the stretch, he added.
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The Centre has already allocated Rs 20 crore for the work estimated to cost Rs 35 crore totally. The train traffic on the bridge would be suspended for about a month during the replacement of the span, the official said. The 2.06 km long bridge is India’s second longest sea bridge after Bandra-Worli sea link. It was commissioned in 1914, when the East India Company connected Dhanushkodi and Colombo by rail.