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Vizag’s floating bridge remains broken dream

The bridge, meant to offer a thrilling experience, broke apart a day after inauguration in February

Vizag’s floating bridge remains broken dream

Visakhapatnam: After its inauguration in February amid fanfare, the Vizag Floating Bridge (VFB) near the INS Kursura Submarine Museum on the picturesque Beach Road in February, what now remains is only a security guard, the nameplate announcing the floating sea bridge and the floating parts of structure turning it into a popular place for clicking selfies by the onlookers.

The delay in making it operational has led to suspicion on whether the project, the first of its kind, has been grounded for good. Though conceptualised on the lines of floating sea bridge at Thrissur of Kerala, Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA), the largest urban planning body in Andhra Pradesh, engaged a private agency, Srisai Moksha Shipping and Logistics to make the project operational with an investment of over Rs 1 crore. Amid wide publicity, YSRCP regional coordinator and MP YV Subba Reddy inaugurated it after which he and several VIPs including Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath went on a walk of the bridge.

However, a day after its inauguration, the bridge broke away with video clips of disintegrated parts of the structure going viral in the social media. This led to a quick rebuttal by VMRDA, which said, “We just started it on a trial basis. It is yet to be opened to the general public. As part of a mock exercise, they allowed the structure to float into a few pieces due to choppy waters.” After that, despite frequent queries by the enthusiastic public, it has not been opened to the public suggesting the adventure tourism project has turned jinxed from day-one.

The bridge was conceived to float nearly 100 feet into the sea by offering a thrilling experience of vibration under the impact of fast-moving tidal waves. The bridge necessitated 34 cement anchors and two iron anchors. Life guards are supposed to be deployed for every 25 meters on both sides as part of a safety apparatus. Wearing life jackets by the visitors with the deployment of life guards is a prerequisite when such projects are made operational.

After the inauguration, District Collector Mallikarjuna, who is also in-charge of VMRDA, had directed the private operator to not allow beyond 15 people at a time and keep it open from 8 am to 6 pm with CCTV footage.

The State government, though has several plans to make Visakhapatnam a centre for adventure tourism by introducing scuba diving, jet skiing for high-speed thrills, speed boats, kayaking, ziplining and snorkeling, for a long time, nothing has materialised till date.

Santosh Patnaik
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