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Four-lane connector over Sone, Ganga
- Centre clears proposal for inclusion of two four-lane bridges; Bihar charts own upgrade plan

Patna, April 7: Decks have been cleared for setting up two four-lane bridges in Bihar under the third phase of National Highway Development Project (NHDP-III).

While one such bridge will be constructed parallel to the existing Rajendra Bridge across Ganga on NH-31 near Mokama, the other bridge would come up parallel to the existing Koilwar bridge across river Sone on NH-30.

The decision assumes significance as both the aforesaid rail-cum-road bridges are very old and were constructed by railways. While the Rajendra Bridge was open for public use in 1957, the Koilwar bridge is being used since 1920. The maintenance work of these bridges is carried out by the the railways and the road construction department has limited role in it. Traffic movement gets disrupted as maintenance work of these two bridges has to be carried out frequently to keep them in good shape.

The construction of four-lane bridges at these two places has become possible after the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) decided to include some more national highways passing through Bihar in its list of roads to be upgraded to four lanes. The stretches which have been selected under the revised proposal are 130km-long national highway between Patna and Buxar and 115km-long Bakhtiyarpur-Khagaria stretch.

Construction of four-lane highways on Bakhtiyarpur-Khagaria stretch would be done at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore and that between Patna and Buxar would be done at a cost of Rs 1,133 crore.

The construction would be done under public-private-partnership (PPP) annuity mode. Under this mode, private investors would invest money for the construction work and the government would commit fixed amount which it would pay back to the investor in instalments. The toll collection work will be done by the government and not the investor.

“Tender process of undertaking construction work on these two stretches of national highways would be completed this year,” road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav told The Telegraph. He said he will meet the NHAI officials on April 9 to discuss these and other highway-related projects going on in the state under the NHDP-III.

Incidentally, the state government has been clamouring for four-laning of all the ten national highways under the NHDP-III as was the idea when the project was conceived. The Centre, however, revised the plan mid-way and it was decided that only limited number of roads would be converted into four lanes.

The NHAI decision to include some more roads under the four-lane project would meet the state government’s demand to a large extent.

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