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Vol XXXI No. 22, March 1-15, 2022

Heritage Watch: A Bridge to Nowhere

In any other country it would be a nice walkway across a waterbody. Imagine a restored bridge, with Perspex or some other protective glass on both sides, informative plaques all along the walls, or even local art providing a great display for walkers. What a sight that would be with glorious views of the sunrise over the horizon. It may even mark a great turning point in the life of the river.

Not so in our city, or for that matter in any Indian city. The Elphinstone Bridge over the Adyar river has been given over to the elements. A supremely ugly waterpipe now runs on it and the rest of it has been cordoned off. Not so thoroughly it would seem from the tonnes of garbage that litter the place.

For the record, the Elphinstone Bridge was designed by Capt J.J. Underwood of the Corps of Engineers of the Madras Army in the 1850s. Four of his constructions still stand in the city today – the Ice House, the Chief Office aka the DGP Building on the Marina which he designed as a Masonic Temple, the Elphinstone Bridge and the oldest block of the General Hospital. A Freemason, Underwood was also responsible for the construction of the St. Stephen’s Church in Ooty.

Our OLD is a pic courtesy the book Chief Office, Headquarters of the Tamil Nadu Police and shows the bridge in all its glory when it was well maintained though the Thiru Vi Ka Bridge next to it was being used for traffic. Our NEW by Ramanujar Moulana shows what it has become now.

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  1. Karun says:

    Dear sir,
    I have always been wondering as a people why are we so lethargic. If citizens don’t apply pressure on the elected members of their constituency any monument will fall into ruins with time without any maintenance.Its disheartening- we are unmoved by any amount of litter as long as the garbage is “not my backyard”

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