Bridge opening boon for north Bihar link

Chief minister Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the Digha-Sonepur bridge across the Ganga tomorrow and workers today hurried with the finishing touches to the bridge named after Jayaprakash Nayaran.

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 11.06.17
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Last-minute work on the Digha-Sonepur bridge. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna, June 10: Chief minister Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the Digha-Sonepur bridge across the Ganga tomorrow and workers today hurried with the finishing touches to the bridge named after Jayaprakash Nayaran.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the rail section of this 4.56km bridge on March 12 last year. The road deck of the JP Setu as the bridge has been named is, however, more crucial for travellers between Patna and north Bihar as the Mahatma Gandhi Setu is in bad shape and its restructuring will take several months.

When Nitish opens the bridge with a press of a remote control button from his secretariat, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his youngest son, deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, will be present. Nitish will open the 4.35km Ara (Bhojpur)-Chhapra (Saran) bridge named after 1857 hero Veer Kunwar Singh as well.

The inauguration ceremony coincides with the 69th birthday of Lalu and the foundation day of Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam that has constructed the approach paths to the Digha-Sonepur bridge built by Bihar State Road Development Corporation.

Today, workers were busy applying paint on the railings and handrails, sweeping off residue construction material on the surface and putting up blue LED lights, while official vehicles zoomed past inspecting the work on the Digha-Sonepur bridge.

On the Sonepur end, the mastic surface layer is yet to be applied on the approach road leading to the bridge and a little ahead, layers of bitumen-stone mixture are to be added. Part of the approach road is incomplete with just stones spread on it to serve as the base. Welding work is unfinished.

"We would have finished everything and put the mastic surface on the top, but for the recent pre-monsoon showers that brought work to a standstill," Furkhan Khan, a contractor of Amhara Constructions, told The Telegraph.

A resident from nearby Bharpura village, Rajan Kumar, feared that the bitumen-stone mixture will be washed away in the monsoon rain if more layers are not applied.

Laying additional bitumen and mastic layers are also left on the Ara-Chhapra bridge. Asked about the unfinished business on the bridges, a senior road construction official said: "For us the two bridges are ready for inauguration. Finishing jobs continue even after most inaugurations."

Tejashwi will take the Digha-Sonepur bridge to cross the Ganga around 2pm on Sunday and will return to Patna via the Ara-Chhapra bridge.