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Saturday, March 9, 2024

Valiathura Sea Bridge History - Bridge Collapse

 Thiruvananthapuram. : Valiathura Sea Bridge is a heritage structure that tells the story of Travancore and Thiruvananthapuram's trade and commerce and engineering excellence. It is said in historical records that there was a sea bridge in Valithura centuries ago. The arrival of the bridge also led to changes in the lives of Sankhummukham and Valyathura, which were only fishing areas. The area, which was of commercial importance for centuries, later became a popular tourist destination. It was also helpful for livelihood of fishermen during monsoon. 

Once upon a time, all sea freight to Thiruvananthapuram used to pass through this sea bridge. Even after years of collapse, the historic sea bridge is drifting into oblivion due to lack of proper conservation measures. A history that can never be built again is collapsing in the sea before our eyes. Commercial center in : In the early 1800s, the Travancore government was constructing a sea bridge at Valiyathura. A sea bridge is first built at Shankhummukham to monitor the enemy's approach by sea. It is concluded that it may have been moved to a larger room later. 

Due to geographical features, ships were close at that time. There are records that the British ship Jupiter, which went to Ceylon during the reign of Utram Tirunal Maharaja, reached Valiathura  With the coming of the sea bridge, Valiathura  became a major trading center. The Travancore Marine Department was formed in 1878 during the Ayilyam Thirunal. Then seaborne trade became more important. In 1910, a sea bridge with modern facilities was constructed at Valiathura . When the Alappuzha port was renovated, the bridge was constructed at a cost of one lakh rupees during the reign of Sri Moolam Thirunal using scrap steel and other materials. Life in the region changed with the arrival of this bridge. It is also said that there were rails to carry goods from Valiathura to Chaka.

In 1947, the bridge was destroyed by the huge cargo ship SS Pandit. The ship went out of control and hit the bridge when the bridge was full of people to see the big cargo ship. Five people lost their lives in the accident. With the collapse of the sea bridge, the commercial area of Valiathura  collapsed. Then in 1956, the present bridge was built at a cost of 18 lakh rupees. With the collapse of the Thiru-Kochi cabinet, the state came under President's rule. PS Rao came as an advisor to help Chithira Thirunal, who was a royal leader. A British company called J.C. Gammon built the bridge under his supervision. The bridge was inaugurated on October 1, 1956. Although freight traffic stopped, the bridge was a popular destination for tourists. Also, during the monsoons, fishermen used to bait on the bridge. Due to the dangerous situation, the bridge was closed with a notice that the visit was prohibited.

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