The 100-year-old suspension bridge built on river Kallar which was not being used has been renovated by the Odanthurai panchayat to preserve it as a heritage site for tourists. Kranthi Kumar Pati inaugurated the renovated bridge located on the Mettupalayam-Coonoor road.
As reported earlier by India Narrative, this 20-metre, pillar-less single-span steel bridge, which is called Kallar Bridge, was built on river Kallar in 1924-25. It connects Mettupalayam with Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. It was constructed to replace a wooden bridge that had been washed away in 1891 floods.
This bridge one of the oldest steel bridges constructed on the Kallar river. It came into being to replace a masonry bridge that had earlier been built by the British in 1894. The masonry bridge was razed in 2015 after it got damaged.
- Thangavelu, president of Odanthurai Panchayat which had taken the initiative to renovate the bridge, talking to the media said the bridge had served the people for nearly a century. After the traffic was suspended on it when the new concrete bridge came up in 2016, there was a vociferous demand by the local people to preserve it. For this they approached a company which agreed to fund the renovation plans while a two-wheeler manufacturer donated plastic bottles scrapping machine and a water dispenser for tourists who visit the bridge in large numbers.
The panchayat has approached the authorities to declare the bridge as a heritage site and also decided to set apart half an acre near it to set up a park. Help for this park has been assured by the company that sponsored the renovation of the bridge.
With the park coming up, the panchayat is planning to charge entry fee from the tourists for the upkeep of the place.