Ganga bridge bonanza New projects to ease travel hassle

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By AMIT BHELARI
  • Published 26.04.12
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Six years from now, criss-crossing the Ganga would be a cakewalk for Patna residents. They would be spoilt for choice with three new bridges coming up across the river.

Besides, the existing Gandhi Setu would be renovated. Also, a new motorway parallel to the dilapidated road lane of Rajendra Bridge would replace the latter.

At present, Gandhi Setu and the rail-cum-road Rajendra Bridge are the two options for people going to north Bihar from Patna. Gandhi Setu connects Patna with Hajipur, the headquarters of Vaishali district. Rajendra Bridge connects Mokama, in the eastern part of Patna district, with Begusarai.

The two existing bridges are around 100km apart. Once the new projects materialise, the maximum distance between two bridges across the river would be around 50km.

Recently, ministry of road transport and high- ways gave approval for constructing a new bridge parallel to the Gandhi Setu in public-private partnership mode. It would be just 10km east of Gandhi Setu.

Two bridges, including the much-awaited Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge and 5.575-km-long Bakthtiyarpur-Tajpur bridge, are under construction at present.

The Bakhtiyarpur (Patna district) and Tajpur (Samastipur district) bridge is coming up around 50km east of Gandhi Setu. Its construction is likely to be over in 2015.

The 4.5km-long rail-cum-road bridge, 17km west of Gandhi Setu, will be a boon for the people of Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Chhapra, Siwan and other districts of north Bihar once it is completed by 2017.

Road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav told The Telegraph most of the projects undertaken by the government would be completed on time.

“All the projects undertaken by the state government would be completed in the stipulated timeframe. In all these areas, land acquisition process has started and the construction companies have been strictly instructed to complete the work within the deadline. As far as the rail-cum road bridge is concerned, the money is allotted by the Centre and its deadline stretches because of delay in allotment of funds.”

An official of Indian Railway Construction Company, which has been awarded the work to complete the project, told The Telegraph: “I agree with what the minister had said regarding the project sponsored by the Centre. The railway ministry had allotted Rs 300 crore for the ambitious Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge in 2012-2013. But so far state has only received Rs 120 crore. This is how the project undertaken by the Centre are delayed.”

Yadav was upbeat about the rest of the projects.

“As Gandhi Setu is in a dilapidated state, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been given the task to replace its superstructure. Besides, a new four-lane bridge with its northern end near Bidupur in Vaishali district and southern end at Kachchi Dargah in Patna district is in the pipeline. The new bridge would be parallel to the existing one would be around 10km east of Gandhi Setu.”

The minister said the existing rail-cum-road Rajendra Bridge is not able to meet the demand of the commuters as it has two lanes. “To solve this problem forever, we have decided to construct a four-lane bridge near Mokama, around 100km east of Patna, across the Ganga. The new bridge would be parallel to the existing Rajendra Bridge,” said Nand Kishore.

Charting the benefits of the proposed bridge, the minister said: “It would be a boon for the commuters, as the existing bridge keeps on developing snags and remains closed for vehicular movement when maintenance work is done. Moreover, the road of the existing bridge is not wide enough to cope up with the ever-increasing vehicu- lar pressure.”