The first-ever Bridges Survey conducted by the PWD revealed that around 365 bridges in Kerala are in such a grave condition that they require emergency replacement. The PWD Minister G Sudhakaran, while replying to the debate on demand for grants for public works in the state assembly on 9 May 2017, expressed his deep concern on the matter and revealed that only 606 of the 2300 bridges in the state could be deemed safe.
The most number of faulty bridges have been identified in Bridges Survey to be in Alappuzha (44) and Kozhikode (42). The Enathu Bridge in the state’s Kollam district collapsed 19 years after it was opened to traffic. Some of the main reasons identified for their poor state are poor construction, design faults, use of low-grade construction material, poor maintenance, lack of periodic inspections, corruption, unchecked river sand-mining practice and lack of proper supervision.
To ease the re-construction work, the state government has acquired a German machine for ₹10-crore. The machine can dig up, lay and resurface roads at once and so, it will save workers and the environment from the heat, smoke and soot stains of the usual hot-tarring process. The government would also be hiring a chief engineer, exclusively for the bridges. The roads in the state would also be re-contoured, beautified and lined with trees wherever possible.
Besides this, the state would also meet the dues of the government contractors and give them bank guarantee to get through the current crisis. Surprisingly 10 Bridges among the ones deemed safe are over 100 years old and despite wear and tear, years of heavy traffic and extreme weather, they have all shown remarkable resilience and are still in excellent condition. Six of them are located in Thiruvananthapuram.