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Ellis Bridge

Ellis Bridge is a century old heritage bridge situated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It is across Sabarmati river. This bowstring arch truss bridge was the first bridge of Ahmedabad constructed in 1892. Later new concrete wings were constructed on either side in 1997 and it was renamed as Swami Vivekananda bridge but is still known to people by its old name.

History

The original wooden bridge constructed by British engineers in 1869 at cost of Rs 5.49 lakh. It was destroyed by floods in 1875.

 

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 Rs. 407564.

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'.

Reconstruction Proposal

Ellis Bridge Panorama

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.

Cultural Significance

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.

 

Sources: Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

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