The bridge was the first Build-Operate-Transfer contract in Kerala. It was built as a joint project of the Government of Kerala, the Greater Cochin Development Authority and Gammon India. The project was awarded in 1999 substituting the previous bridge of the same name, which was built in 1940.
Mr. Venugopal, the GCDA chairman, announced that making the bridge toll-free was one of his topmost priorities. He stated:
The terms of agreement between GCDA and Gammon India will be terminated on April 26. Although Gammon had earlier asked for a compensation of Rs670 million (US$11 million) to end the toll collection, they have agreed to settle for Rs310 million (US$5.1 million).
Gammon was given the right to collect toll for 13 years, which was extended by two more years. The government in 2005 issued an order to extend the toll period by another six years, but the subsequent government upheld the original agreement by which the contract agreement and toll collection right of Gammon will end this month.
The 700 meters long bridge provides a two-lane link across the Mattancherry channel. The picturesque river bridge connects Fort Kochi (a heritage town and a famous tourist site) to Willingdon Island in the Cochin Port Trust area.
The project started commercial operations in October 2002, ten months ahead of schedule.