|Construction work in progress on the second bridge over Kharkai on Friday. Pictures by Animesh Sengupta
The state government has sanctioned Rs 38.7 lakh for construction of the approach road from Jamshedpur-end to the second bridge over river Kharkai, thus paving the way for the much-delayed connector to become operational.
“The state government has sanctioned Rs 38 lakh in favour of Jamshedpur Utility and Services Company (Jusco), which is building the approach road from Jamshedpur’s side,” said executive engineer of public works department (road construction) Sanjay Kumar Singh.
He added that officials of Jusco were in regular touch with road construction officials and the Tata Steel subsidiary would shortly float a tender for the project. “Both the road construction department as well as the utility company are serious about making the second bridge operational at the earliest,” Singh stressed.
The fate of the second Kharkai bridge linking Jamshedpur to the industrial township of Adityapur in Seraikela-Kharsawan district — which is yet to be completely thrown open to vehicles — depends much on completion of the approach road.
“The move to allow pedestrians to use the bridge was a temporary measure aimed at easing the pressure on the existing link during Durga Puja. We closed it today (Friday). The bridge will be made completely operational only when the approach road from Jamshedpur-end is ready,” said Singh.
According to him, the approach road from Adityapur-end is almost done while a major portion of work on the other end is pending. “It will take over a month to complete construction of the stretch from steel city’s side. Once that’s done, the second bridge will be operational by end of November,” the executive engineer added.
He, however, conceded that the approach road from Jamshedpur-end was complicated and might take a longer period to complete.
“Jusco is planning to connect the road with the bridge near Voltas Building in Bistupur. The company also has plans to link the approach road with two upcoming malls for which it has to spend over Rs 5 crore,” said Singh.
Mangotia Construction Private Limited was supposed to construct both the approach roads to the Rs 15.5-crore second bridge over Kharkai. But due to the inordinate delay coupled with a pressing need to get the bridge operational as soon as possible, the Seraikela-Kharsawan district administration approached Jusco, a Tata Steel subsidiary company, and IL&FS to construct the approach roads at Jamshedpur and Adityapur sides, respectively.
The argument was that since IL&FS was widening the Adityapur-Kandra Road, it should also construct the approach road.
Jusco was brought in as the approach road from Jamshedpur falls under the Tata Steel lease land area.
Singh said that they would allow public to use the existing bridge as a service road whereas the second bridge would be meant only for commercial and private vehicles.