Being built by Karnataka Neeravari Nigam, the ₹19-crore bridge connects Hattikudru with Basruru
Responding to the decades-old demand of the residents of Hattikudru — a river island on the Varahi — for better connectivity to the mainland, Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (KNNL) is building a road bridge connecting the southern part of the island with panchayat headquarters Basruru in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district.
Hattikudru, spread across about 500 acres, was already connected to the mainland on the northern side to Hattiangadi, a pilgrim place. However, residents had to take a detour of about 14 km via Kundapur or use boats to reach Basruru. The island, with about 300 households, has a population of around 2,500.
The KNNL, which manages the irrigation requirements of the region, responded to the public demand and also to a letter from the former Legislative Council Chairman K. Pratapchandra Shetty. Launched on December 27, 2019, the work was expected to be completed in 12 months, but it got delayed following COVID-19, engineers said.
When The Hindu visited the site on Monday, more than 50% of the work on the bridge had been completed from the Basruru side, while the remaining work towards Hattikudru was going on. Pedestrians crossed the Varahi branch using a coffer bund and the bridge that is under construction. Hitherto, Konkan Railway’s bridge on Mangaluru-Mumbai line provided pedestrian passage to Basruru and Kundapur.
KNNL assistant executive engineer N.G. Bhat said that the 315-metre-long bridge was being built on seven spans of 45 metres each with support at every 15-metre interval. The continuous type deck slab bridge has a 7.5-metre-wide carriageway with 0.9-metre-wide footpaths/utility space on either sides. Being executed at an estimated cost of ₹19 crore by Philip D’costa & Co. of Kundapur, the bridge is expected to be ready by January next year.
A resident on the island Narendra Udupa said that the new bridge would be of great help for the residents to travel to Udupi, Tirthahalli and Shivamogga. Another resident, Pradeep Kanchan, said that access to various facilities, including the panchayat, educational institution and banks, would now become easier, while residents could avoid using boats or taking a detour to reach Basruru.
Four boats of a family
The first bridge connecting Hattikudru with Hattiangadi was built about 18 years ago while almost every family used to own boats to reach the mainland, said Raghavendra Udupa, an agriculturist on the island.
“Our family had four boats of different sizes — one for the rainy season, one for the summer, another, a large one, to bring household grocery and articles etc., and one more,” he told The Hindu.