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Setu flank overhaul to streamline traffic

Come August 2014, commuters taking the Gandhi Setu route would be saved of the everyday traffic ordeal.

The work regarding the complete overhaul of the western part of the 44th span, including replacement of the superstructure of the stretch, will start on Monday.

The 44th span (near Patna-end) on the western flank of the bridge caved in two feet below the normal level of Gandhi Setu, forcing its closure for more than a year. The bridge connects north Bihar and Patna.

“The work to replace the superstructure of the 44th span will start on Monday. The target to complete the work is August 2014. The repair of the 44th span would be a big relief to commuters. Once it’s fixed, traffic movement would resume on both lanes on the stretch of the bridge,” a senior officer with the road construction department said.

Superstructures are structural parts of the bridge that provide the horizontal span. For most bridges, the superstructure is often defined as the portion of the bridge above the bridge bearings.

The need for re-opening the western stretch became more important after closure of the Rajendra bridge across river Ganga in Mokama in May this year.

The vehicular load had drastically increased on the Gandhi Setu.

According to the latest figure, more than 75,000 vehicles pass through the 5.575-km-long bridge everyday because it is the main link between north Bihar and Patna.

The official said that the Centre has provided the funds for the replacement work. Freyssinet Prestressed Concrete Company Limited would carry out the work.

The construction would be carried out in such a way that dust and other materials do not fall in the Ganga.”

The coat bearing of the road is going on and it would be completed by February 2014. Roads are often dug up and a new layer is being laid, this is known as coat bearing.

The traffic from the Patna as well as the Hajipur sides on the stretch of the bridge has been diverted to the eastern flank because of the defect, leading to frequent traffic snarls.

“Since traffic is being diverted to the eastern flank, it leads to damage of the flank because of the additional pressure on it. So, it has become very important to start both the flanks soon. The traffic would not be blocked during the replacement work even for a single day,” said the officer.

The Centre has given green light to the construction of a six-lane state-of-the-art bridge over river Ganga, parallel to Gandhi Setu.

The project cost would be around Rs 2,000 crore.

It would sharply reduce the traffic load between north and south Bihar. The work on the project is likely to start in May 2014.

Vikas Singh, a resident of Rajendra Nagar, said: “It is indeed a tough task to cross the Gandhi Setu. I face the problem every time I visit my house in Muzaffarpur. Because of the ongoing work and the diversion from the western to the eastern flank, sometimes it takes more than five hours to cross the bridge. It would be a huge relief for commuters if the problem is solved in the next seven to eight months. I hope the assigned agency would complete the work in the stipulated time.”