New steel bridge was
rebuilt in 1892 by engineer, Himmatlal Dhirajram Bhachech and named
after Sir Barrow Helbert Ellis, the commissioner of north zone. The
steel was imported from Birmingham. Himmatlal built it at the cost of Rs
4.07 lakhs lower than budget of Rs 5 lakhs. The government was
suspicious that low quality material were used by Himmatlal. An inquiry
committee was put up, who found that construction was of best quality
and instead thanked Himmatlal for saving government money. Himmatlal was
subsequently, honoured with title of Rao Sahib.
Foundation block of
Ellisbridge is moved to Sanskar Kendra museum later. It reads, The Ellis
Bridge - So named by Government after Sir Barrow Helbert Ellis : K.G.S.I.
was built in 1869 and 1870. At a cost of Rs:549,210 destroyed by the
great flood of 22nd September 1875 and rebuilt in 1890 and 1895 by
Government, Local Bodies and Private Subscribers. At a further cost of
This the First Stone of
the new bridge was laid by His Excellency Donald James eleventh Lord
Reay C.C.I.E.LL.D. Governor of Bombay December 19th, 1889. Thousands
heard Mahatma Gandhi declaring his Dandi march on 8 March 1930 from
Ellis bridge. Pulling down of bridge was proposed in 1973, 1983 and
1986 but was rejected. Later Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)
declared Ellis bridge and its boundary, Manek Burj and the natural
water drain near one of the banks of Sabarmati river as protected
sites in May, 1989.
The steel bridge was
narrow and not suited for heavy motorized traffic so it was closed
in 1997. Modern concrete bridge was constructed on either side of
the steel bridge to support heavy traffic in 1999 at cost of Rs 18
crore, and the original steel bridge is preserved as a heritage
landmark. The bridge has been renamed as 'Swami Vivekananda bridge'.
It was found that steel
piers of the bridge got corroded due to pollution in Sabarmati river.
Consultants appointed for study to strengthen the bridge, proposed its
demolition in 2012 as building the new bridge would be cheaper than
strengthening. It was also planned to run BRTS buses on the new bridge.
It is proposed that the steel arches of old steel bridge should be
preserved and placed back on the new bridge. Later AMC shelved proposal
of new bridge for BRTS.
This 120 years old bridge has become an iconic landmark and symbol of
Ahmedabad. It was featured in films like Kai Po Che (2013), Kevi Rite
Jaish (2012). Karnavati Art Gallery is situated at the west end of the
bridge which regularly exhibits art.