2 Comments

  1. K . Vijayan

    I appreciate the write up on the Punalur bridge, however some factual errors are there which is brought to your notice as under.
    1. When the Punalur suspension bridge was constructed cement concrete was not invented . For that matter cement also not invented yet.

    Stone masonry columns with arched bridge deck filled with soil and sand and paved with stone was the normal construction method for bridges in those days. The span of arch will be minimal and hence many columns are to be located in the in the middle of the river. Kallada being river with extreme slope and hence the discharge is heavy. .It was common in those days the columns under construction in the river were flown off many times.
    This forced the administration to find other mode of construction. For the suspension bridge only two main columns that are placed close to the shore of river where the discharge is relatively less and the masonry columns are safe till date.
    Added advantage may be the avoidance of animal passage.
    2. Albert Henry is only the site engineer. The entire bridge except stone and wood work was designed and constructed in Engalnd . So this bridge is almost an imported bridge. Bridge parts shipped to kollam port and brought to Punalur using massive wooden carts pulled by elephants and it took a month to reach the site from kollam.
    3. The stones are bound by a special mixture of burnt lime shells , sand and a traditional adhesive made from the bones of animal. For grinding the mortar they used oxen and on top of a flat rock near High school Punalur you can see the reminiscence of this work. The ground mortar is brought from that far to construct the column and end wells stone by stone.
    4. This bridge is much older than any othe suspension bridge in India. And was working till 1972 . I have seen fully loaded lorries and buses passing through it while I was walking through the bridge I too travelled in buses,cars passing through the suspension bridge.
    Thank you for your understanding and suitable correction in your article.
    More later.
    Regards

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