The Madurai Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Ajay Kant Rastogi categorically said that a decision on the Pamban bridge could be arrived at only after the team from IIT-Madras, which is conducting a study on the strength of the structure, submits its report.
The railways will have to face several challenges if a new bridge is to be constructed between Rames-waram island and main land Ramanathapuram. Further, an alternative line for the bridge has to be selected and the construction work should be carried out without affecting the movement of ships in the region.
Talking to reporters here, the DRM said that the IIT Madras has been asked to carry out a technical survey of the Pamban bridge and the study would commence shortly. “Since the structure was built over 100 years ago, the piers of the rail bridge are in a bad condition. If there arises a necessity to replace the old facility with a new one, the entire work may cost around `1,000 crore. In addition to this, the shipping department has also sought a new bridge with necessary facility for easy operation of ships of all sizes, round-the-clock. Meanwhile, the railways will have to select an alternative line and also acquire land necessary for the project,” he explained in response to a question on whether an alternative bridge will replace the century-old structure at Pamban.
He said that the Pamban rail bridge’s centenary function would be held on February 21 and former president APJ Abdul Kalam and technology expert Sreedharan may be among the chief guests for the event.