Bridge launch by June
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- Published 11.06.07
|The Second Vivekananda Bridge: A smoother link to the port. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta|
The Second Vivekananda Bridge is likely to be inaugurated this month, even though the Prime Minister cancelled his trip to the city on Tuesday to inaugurate the third link over the Hooghly.
The bridge is not ready for use, which led to the cancellation of Manmohan Singh’s trip, said sources. The company that built the bridge, however, claimed that it is ready.
The chairman of Second Vivekananda Bridge Tollway Company (a consortium of engineering consultants and developers), Sudhangshu Sekhar Chakraborty, said: “We will have to inaugurate the bridge this month to avoid financial losses. It will smoothen traffic in the north.”
According to him, a flyover at the Dunlop crossing, to be built by the state government, will further ease the traffic congestion in the area.
The Rs 646-crore bridge takes off from Delhi Road, near Dankuni, extends over the river alongside Vivekananda Bridge (Bally bridge) and splits into two ramps that descend on BT Road near Dunlop and Belghoria Expressway. The expressway connects to Jessore Road, which links with National Highway 34 to north Bengal.
The new bridge will make it easier for cargo from the Northeast, Bangladesh and Nepal to reach the port. “The freight can now avoid the narrow and congested Vivekananda Bridge to reach Bombay Road and head towards Haldia,” said Chakraborty.
The advantages of Second Vivekananda Bridge will come at a cost, though. The toll, to be collected by the consortium for the next 27 years, will be nearly twice that on Vidyasagar Setu.
“The rate has been fixed by the National Highway Authority of India. While Vidyasagar Setu was built on a government grant, Second Vivekananda Bridge is a build-operate-transfer project involving foreign direct investment,” said Chakraborty.