Bridge across Krishna to meet long pending demand of Telangana, Andhra

The distance by road between Kollapur in Nagarkurnool district of Telangana and Atmakur in Nandyal district of Andhra Pradesh is about 175 km.

Hyderabad: The iconic cable-stayed cum suspension bridge approved by the Centre across the Krishna river will meet a long pending demand of the people of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The Somasila-Siddeswaram bridge will cut short the distance and significantly reduce the travel time between Telangana state and Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh.

The distance by road between Kollapur in Nagarkurnool district of Telangana and Atmakur in Nandyal district of Andhra Pradesh is about 175 km.

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Once the bridge is completed, those travelling from Hyderabad to Kadapa, Chittoor and Tirupati in the neighbouring state will not have to take a detour through Kurnool.

The bridge is expected to cut the distance between Hyderabad and Tirupati by 80 km. Currently, the distance between the two cities is 580 km.

The Centre early this year gave its approval to a new national highway that links the two Telugu states through a short route. The highway to be built at the cost of Rs.1,700 crore will link Kalwakurthy, Nagarkurnool and Kollapur in Telangana to Atmakur and Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh.

The new sanctioned iconic bridge will be part of this national highway. Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari took to Twitter to share details of the proposed bridge.

He announced that the iconic cable-stayed cum suspension bridge across Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has been approved at a total cost of Rs 1082.56 crore with the construction period of 30 months.

He wrote that this would be the first of its kind in India and the second in the world.

It would have several unique features like the longest glass pedestrian walkway across a river, gopuram-like pylons, signature lighting and a large navigational span.

The hybrid structural arrangement in the bridge will give a structural advantage to it & make it economical as well as aesthetically pleasing.

The bridge has beautiful surroundings with the sprawling Srisailam reservoir surrounded by Nallamala forests and high mountains with huge tourist potential and presents an attractive view of Lalitha Someswara Swamy temple on Telangana side and Sangameswaram temple on Andhra Pradesh side.

People on both sides of the Krishna river have long been demanding construction of the bridge. It picked up momentum after 61 people died in a boat capsize in the river on January 19, 2007. The tragedy occurred near Nehru Nagar in Kurnool district when they were on their way to take part in Singotam Jatara in Kollapur.

Chief minister of the then united Andha Pradesh Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy had promised to build the bridge and sanctioned Rs 50 crore.

However, the project did not take off due to 2009 elections, Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy’s death in a helicopter crash and subsequent political developments, including Telangana agitation.

Following fresh demands from people on both sides of the river, Kiran Kumar Reddy, the last chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh, had sanctioned Rs 250 crore for the bridge. However, the project remained a non-starter.

After the division of Andhra Pradesh and formation of Telangana in 2014, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government approved the bridge plan and sanctioned Rs 190 crore. It urged the then Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government in Andhra Pradesh to release their portion of funds. The project, however, remained on paper.

In the 2019 elections, the bridge had become a poll issue. The BJP candidate in Nagarkurnool Lok Sabha constituency in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana had promised to get the bridge constructed.

Kollapur MLA B. Harshavardhan Reddy had claimed that the promise to build the bridge made him switch loyalties from to TRS in 2019, a few months after he won the election on Congress ticket.

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