Bridges bring people together | Sunday Observer

Bridges bring people together

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

A bridge links a gap. The dictionary gives a number of meanings to the term. Let us speak of the former. Whenever we want to get across a narrow open space, we place one foot on one side and the other on the other side. Our limbs form a bridge. At times we use our hands to ferry articles across, while standing with our legs on either side. Here, man become a bridge.

In ancient times, man and animals got across ravines and small streams by using arched branches of trees. Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan needed no bridge. Large creepers got him across crocodile infested rivers. The Veddahs too used this method.

A bridge reduces distance. The edanda is a very risky bridge. Many arched bridges take our Udarata Menike across many valleys, rivers and ridges.

Manamoitiya Bridge

There are bridges across the Kelani. Kalu and Nilwala rivers. The romantic Manampitiya Bridge used to take motorists and railway travellers on the same bridge with their paths controlled by gates, across the Mahaweli River.

Has it occurred to you that the city of Colombo is an Island. From whatever direction one enters Colombo, Motorists and rail users have to cross either a canal or river. Bridges across the Kelani River, across the canals at Wellawatte, Wellampitiya, Pamankade and Kirullapane link the commercial capital with the mainland.

These angels of steel, make Colombo to be like Manhattan in the U.S.A. and Lagos in Nigeria. Without these links, the city of Colombo and the harbour would be on an island.


Bridges fascinate mankind. The Firth of Forth takes the Flying Scotsman from London to Edinburgh. The semicircularly arched beauty of Australia is Sydney Harbour Bridge. San Francisco Bridge in California, the stupendous Howrah Bridge in West Bengal and the long bridge that links North Korea and China are great feats of engineering.

Of course, we cannot forget the very long bridge which took the then Indo Ceylon Express and many other trains from Rameshwaran to Dhanuskodi from where the proud Madras Maru and Irwin Madras carried passengers and goods to Talaimannar and in to the arms of the Talaimannar Fort night mail that took off from the Talaimannar Pier, across many a bridge starting with the bridge at the Mannar causeway, Deduru Oya and Maha Oya at Alawwa. This romantic journey came to an end when the Pamban Bridge was destroyed in the 1978 cyclone. Passengers in the Indo Ceylon Express were given a glimpse of a row of large rocks between Ceylon and India - Adam’s Bridge. Also there is a bridge supposed to have been made by Hanuman.

Fairytale Bridge

Fairytale Bridge was built across the Kelani River at Kitulgala in the mid 1950’s. A replica of a bridge in Burma was constructed for Sam Spieegel’s and David Lean’s 10 academy award film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’.

A bridge is a vital component in the progress of a nation. It links cities and village.' The breath-taking 18 curve drive from Kandy to the city of Mahiyangana is taken across the Mahaweli by a bridge.

Bridges are bonds

Talaimannar Pier in Trincomalee

They link many a space with their awe inspiring, fabulous structures that are the brainchild of man. These steel giants have united mankind amidst diverse customs, races, tribes and cultures.

There have been instances where bridges have been barricaded or blown up due to the hidden agendas of human beings.

A bridge can also help heal an ailing human race. Bridges make empathy, understanding and a sense of togetherness.