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Deepam fest: Bailey bridge planned on girivalam path
The Tiruvannamalai district administration on Monday began to chalk out a detailed plan to regulate lakhs of devotees, who would throng Arulmigu Arunachaleshwarar Temple for the annual Karthigai Deepam festival.
According to Collector KS Kandasamy, this year, managing and regulating the crowd would be an easier task as the district administration has planned to erect a bailey bridge (portable structure) to ensure smooth flow of devotees at the girivalam path.
Last year, the town recorded 15 lakh footfalls during the annual deepam festival. Many pilgrims walk through the 14-km stretch around Annamalai hill on this day. “While the number of pilgrims keeps increasing every year, this festival too we expect a higher footfall. To ensure a hassle-free walk for devotees, we have decided to erect a bailey bridge for two-wheelers and light weight vehicles,” he said.
Stating that these bridges are portable, prefabricated truss bridges which are generally used by army men to cross rivers, he said, “As they are portable, there is no need to erect permanent structures.” Officials from the district administration approached experts at IIT Madras, who along with revenue and police officials inspected the possible locations on girivalam path to lay the bridge. The officials decided to erect the bridge on Pe-gopuram Junction Road, Pillayar Koil Street, Cuddalore Road and Puducherry Road. “The estimated cost to lay the bridge is Rs 1.20 crore. It can be erected in seven hours and dismantled in two hours. It can also be preserved for use in future,” he added.
He further stated that when the bridge was erected on pey gopuram street and Puducherry Road, it would enable two wheelers and light vehicles to reach the temple easily. Until last year, the devotees were stopped in order to allow vehicles on the same path. “The idea of erecting a bailey bridge was to ensure safety and avoid chances of stampede,” police said.