Diversion to Rajendra Setu irks railways

The railways are not happy with Gandhi Setu's traffic load being passed on to Rajendra Setu at Mokama.

By Amit Bhelari in Patna
  • Published 22.05.18
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Rajendra Setu

Patna: The railways are not happy with Gandhi Setu's traffic load being passed on to Rajendra Setu at Mokama.

The sudden rise in traffic on Rajendra Setu, which underwent repair in 2016, has made the bridge more unsafe and railway engineers feel the situation will worsen in the coming days. The 2km bridge, around 100km east of Patna, underwent repair from December 1, 2014, to August 1, 2016. Only one-way traffic was allowed while heavy vehicles were prohibited.

"While Rajendra Setu was being repaired we had communicated to the state government not to allow heavy vehicles on it, but had to under pressure," a senior East Central Railway (ECR) official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Telegraph. "But the latest development, in which heavy vehicles from Gandhi Setu have been shunted to Rajendra Setu, will worsen the condition of the bridge."

First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, inaugurated the bridge, named after first President Dr Rajendra Prasad, in 1959. Even today, commuters use Rajendra Setu to go from Patna to places like Begusarai and Khagaria. Many trains also use the bridge.

But with Gandhi Setu undergoing repair, a need was felt to shift heavy vehicles - around 10,000 daily - from Gandhi Setu to Rajendra Setu and the Ara-Chhapra bridge.

Another senior engineer with ECR said vehicles weighing above 16 tonnes are not allowed and speed on the Rajendra Setu would now have to be within 20kmph. The railways has put up barricades at both ends - Hatidah on the Patna end and Simaria in Begusarai.

"Heavy vehicles were already using Rajendra Setu but with the new rule, around 5,000-7,000 heavy vehicles filled with sand, stone chips, iron bars and more will arrive," said the engineer. "The 14, 18, and 22-wheel trucks are heavy and carry up to 30 tonnes. You can understand what will happen if these heavy vehicles pass through Rajendra Setu. It might become a risk for train movement."

Construction of a new railway bridge across the Ganga at Mokama commenced in February last year. The new bridge will not have any road deck. It will just be a 1.9km railway bridge scheduled for completion in February 2021.