July 7, 2019
Kochi: Muvattupuzha is a small township in Ernakulam district bordering Idukki and Kottayam districts.
The place is mainly known globally for the delicious and juicy pineapples grown in the region from where the fruit is sent to different parts of the country and many Gulf countries.
Besides, the place is also known globally for one more thing and that is the 105-year-old concrete bridge across Muvattupuzha river.
The bridge is said to be Asia’s first concrete bridge that connects the main area of the city of “Kacherithazham” with Velloorkunnam, Vazhappilly and Kadathy.
The bridge is still hale and healthy, but remains less burden as a parallel bridge built in the early seventies is used by normal traffic.
Only smaller vehicles are allowed to use it as it is narrow and cannot take two way traffic.
This is one of the few surviving bridges made by the colonialists that have lived more than 100 years.
The credit for taking the initiative to build the bridge goes to Maharaja Sreemoolam Thirunal of Travancore Kingdom.
The bridge was completed in 1914 under the supervision of engineer V H Emerald.
John Munro was the resident Dewan of Travancore then.
After completion of work, people refused to use the bridge under the fear of losing their lives in the event of a possible bridge collapse.
The engineer Emerald and his wife sat on a boat anchored under the bridge and made 15 elephants to walk over the bridge to instill confidence in people.
The design of the bridge resting on three arches under the semi suspension technology was unique.
Iron rods and cement for the construction were imported from England.
At a time when the state is going to witness a possible destruction of a two-year-old bridge in Palarivattom, people pay tribute to the British engineer who presented a bridge of top quality.
Now the Muvattupuzha municipality is building an arch on either side of the bridge as part of beautification work.
Interestingly, a pillar of the arch under construction tumbled a few months back showing the substandard quality of the work.
Speaking to The Covai Post, BJP councillor P Premchand said that the work has been held up since then.
He said the bridge is still strong and vehicles are operated through it.
He said about Rs 1.6 crore was spent on its beautification with the funds provided by the Archaeological Survey of India a few years back to mark the bridge’s 100 years.