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Bridge repair to cripple traffic

Commuters would face a harrowing time from March 24 owing to closure of the Akharaghat Bridge for renovation and strengthening work.

The bridge — a lifeline over the Budhi Gandak situated in the heart of commercial city — would be temporarily shut down for 21 days, said Sanjeev Hans, the managing director of Bihar State Pul Nirman Nigam Limited.

District magistrate Anupam Kumar said Bihar State Pul Nirman Nigam has sought permission to stop traffic on the bridge by putting blockades on both sides to renovate and strengthen the structure.

Constructed in 1970, the bridge is in a shambles. Around 24m long, the structure is built on six pillars connecting Muzaffarpur with Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Darbhanga.

Besides, it works as a traffic lifeline for blocks of Aurai, Bochahan, Minapur, Gaighat and Katra.

Hans told The Telegraph that the state government has sanctioned Rs 1.5 crore to strengthen the bridge. The structure has been weakened and the pillars have developed chinks and cracks.

North Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairperson Motilal Chaparia said: “The administration should have made a diversion on the side of the bridge. People would face a lot of problems, as they would have to cover a distance of 5km extra to reach Zero Mile on the other side to reach Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Darbhanga.”

“Traders would suffer as most transport agencies are located on the other side of Akharaghat Bridge,” said Suresh Gupta, a businessman.

Patients visiting Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) from the township areas, too, would face inconvenience owing to the bridge blockade, said G.K. Thakur, the SKMCH superintendent.