The Narmada Bridge, popularly known as Golden Bridge completes 132 years today.
The bridge connects Bharuch and Ankleshwar and was built by the Britishers who needed a bridge for trading and administrative purposes with Bombay (Mumbai).
The construction of the bridge started in 1861 but in 1863 the pillars got washed away by the heavy flow of river Narmada. Again in 1867 and 1871, more pillars got washed away. Finally in 1877, the Britishers undertook the job and completed it in 1881 with construction cost of Rs. 45.65 lakh.
|Image Source : http://www.hoparoundindia.com/gujarat/ankleshwar-attractions/golden-bridge.aspx|
Why the name Golden Bridge ?
The material used for construction was resistant to rust and it was so expensive to build the bridge that a bridge made of gold could have been made on a small river like Thames in England.
Built for the Railway Line
Originally, the bridge was built for the railway line Bombay-Baroda-Ahmedabad but later it was decided to use it for vehicles as it could not withstand the weight of Goods Trains (Freight Trains).
New Bridge for the RailwaysIn 1860, a new bridge adjacent to Golden Bridge was built for the railways.
Love for Golden BridgeApart from connecting the two cities, the bridge also is part of rich history of Bharuch.
During World War II, it was decided to destroy the bridge for its iron, but the love of locals for the bridge saved it.
Recently on Valentine's day (14th February 2013), environment activists and youth of Bharuch expressed their love for the bridge by typing friendship bands on the pillars of the bridge as well as the commuters.
Also a request was made to the state government to declare Golden Bridge as a heritage structure and prevent it from more damage.
A demand for a bridge parallel to Golden Bridge has been made by the residents of Bharuch considering the traffic jams and further aggravation to the bridge.
Work for coloring the bridge is also on the records. (see this link)
After Independence, the Golden bridge was part of the National Highway 8. However, after the construction of another bridge over Narmada (Sardar Bridge), the flow for heavy vehicles was restricted.