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Katugastota Old Bridge

Katugastota Old Bridge
Katugastota Old Bridge (Sinhala: කටුගස්තොට පැරණි පාලම) is an iron bridge built over the Mahaweli Ganga River in Katugastota town in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
By replacing an existing ferry service, this bridge was built over the Mahaweli Ganga River by the British in the 19th century to connect the areas of Matale, Panwila, Kabaragala, Rangala, Knuckles, and Kurunegala with the city of Kandy (Abeyawardana, 2004; Jayasinghe, 2021). According to the plaque fixed on the bridge, the construction work of the bridge was initiated by the British Governor Sir Henry Ward (In office: 1855-1860 A.D.) in September 1858 and was completed in March 1860 (Abeyawardana, 2004; Karunananda et al., 2017). The plaque reads;

SIR H.G. WARD G.C.M.G. GOVERNOR  __ THIS WORK WAS BEGUN 1ST SEPTEMBER 1858 AND OPENED TO TRAFFIC 1ST MARCH 1860

J.A. Caley was the Chief Engineer during the construction of the bridge (Jayasinghe, 2021). Designed in the style of an iron garage, the bridge had three sections of 140 feet each and a total length of about 420 feet (Jayasinghe, 2021). It was the longest bridge in Sri Lanka at that time (Jayasinghe, 2021).

The bridge was strengthened in 1905 by adding new truss girders below the existing trusses that were made of mild steel (Karunananda et al., 2017). It was reconstructed, as revealed by another plaque, in 1939. The plaque says;

RECONSTRUCTED IN 1939 BY THE GOVERNMENT FACTORY OF THE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT __ HON'BLE MAJOR J.L. KOTELAWALA MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS & WORKS KENNETH DE KRESTER DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS S. MAHADEVA CHIEF ENGINEER G.C. ORAM FACTORY ENGINEER

The usage of the old bridge was replaced by a new bridge that opened in 2009. However, the old bridge is still used by pedestrians.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.43.
2) Jayasinghe, J.L.G.V.M.S.S., 2021. An Industrial Archaeological Study of bridges built during the British period in Kandy and Suburbs (Based on Selected sites). Trivalent: Journal of Archaeology, Tourism & Anthropology, Volume II Issue II. pp.91-101.
3) Karunananda, P.A.K., Dissanayake, U.I., Bandara, C.S. and Jayasinghe, J.A.S.C., 2017. Metals used in old bridges in Sri Lanka and the effects of their material properties on capacity estimations. Engineer - Vol. L, No. 03. pp.9-17.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 28 October 2023

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