Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bridge to nowhere?

Although many people refer to this as the Elphinstone Bridge, there is no reason to believe this is indeed the one built in 1840 and named after Lord John Elphinstone, the then Governor of Madras. By all accounts, Elphinstone Bridge was broad enough to carry vehicular traffic and, despite one of its pillars being washed away by a flood in the Adayar river. Despite that handicap, Elphinstone Bridge continued to be the link between the San Thome and the Adyar sides of the river, until it was replaced by the Thiru Vi Ka Bridge in 1973. Given such references, we are now faced with a problem of what to call this pathway, which seems to have provided a bridge for pedestrians - most likely fisherfolk - coming from Foreshore Estate to Besant Nagar.

Solving that issue very simply, most people refer to this as the 'Besant Nagar Broken Bridge'. Broken it is, as you can see about 2/3rds of the way through this short video clip. Whole portions of it have fallen away, and there is no bridge on the Foreshore Estate side now. From Besant Nagar, this path juts out almost to the middle of the river, after which there is only a standalone piece a couple of spans long.

Given that there cannot be any hope of traffic on this stretch, it challenges the imagination to come up with a good reason why the Public Works Department (PWD) has recently seen it fit to paint the sides with the black-and-white pattern of a regular pavement; stranger still is their meticulous tarring and marking of a median on this 'road'!


Anonymous said...

Perhaps for Alien Landing

They are coming..
Tsunami First, Earthquake next,
Close encounter next..

Salvation Now, Sanitation Later

Be prepared with your Camera buddies
to Welcome them.

Gold Biscuit said...

Oftentimes, when you set out on a journey you really can't see the whole path, just a wee bit and then as you travel along, you see more of it. Obviously, this bridge is a metaphor for that.

Cheers, I really enjoy your blogs.


Shantaram said...

@ Anonymous: They're certainly a long time coming!

@ Neti: That's true... but I wouldn't like to have this as a path... if you take a look at this, you'll see that it stops half-way out!

Anonymous said...

Ha! Ha! Was waiting for that .. use your 'wings' of imagination .. and a flying car :D

mambalamoskito said...

this bridge cemented my life with my girl friend 20 years back and recently i took my children there and recounted my 'encouter' with their mother! Aliens or no this bridge took our life to another plane!mm.

Shantaram said...

@ mambalamoskito: 20 years ago - it must have been rather inaccessible, then? Great to hear your 'bridge story'!