PM Modi inaugurates Asia's second longest rail-road bridge in Assam; will cut travel time to Arunachal

The foundation stone of the project was laid by former PM HD Deve Gouda on January 22, 1997, while work commenced on April 21, 2002 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government.

Photo: ANI Photo: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated India's longest rail-cum-road bridge in Assam. Apart from facilitating railways and road transport, this 4.94-km bridge is also a strategically important project over the mighty Brahmaputra at Bogibeel. The Bogibeel Bridge, which was a part of the Assam Accord and sanctioned in 1997-98, will also play a crucial role in defence movement along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.

The foundation stone of the project was laid by former PM HD Deve Gouda on January 22, 1997, while work commenced on April 21, 2002 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government. December 25 happens to be Vajpayee's birth anniversary. Because of the inordinate delay in implementation, the cost of the project escalated by 85 per cent to Rs 5,960 crore from the sanctioned estimated cost of Rs 3,230.02 crore. The total length of the bridge was also revised to 4.94 km from the earlier 4.31 km.

Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has supplied around 35,400 metric tonnes of steel for the construction of bridge. This quantity is little more than 50 per cent of the total quantity of steel supplied for the bridge. SAIL, in a statement, said it has also supplied TMT rebars, plates and structural for this 4.94 KM long bridge, which has composite welded steel truss girders in its structures. Earlier, SAIL had supplied 90 per cent steel for the construction of the Dhola-Sadiyabridge, which is India's longest bridge. The bridge is Asia's second longest rail-cum-road bridge. It has a serviceable period of 120 years.

Realising its strategic importance, the central government had declared the construction of the bridge as a National Project in 2007, thereby assuring availability of fund for speedy construction. Although it will ease out inconvenience caused to people living on the northern side of Brahmaputra to a great extent, officials said the defence requirement played an important role while sanctioning the structure and its design.

The biggest advantage of the bridge will be easy movement of troops from southern to northern bank. This means travelling to the farthest most point of India's border with China will be shortened by several hundred kilometers, say experts.

Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said almost 75 per cent of the 4,000-km long border that India shares with China is in Arunachal Pradesh, and the bridge will help in logistical support for the Indian Army manning the border. The Bogibeel Bridge over river Brahmaputra is situated 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh city in Assam, and it has been constructed for double-line broad gauge track along with three-lane roads, he said.

The road distance from Dibrugarh to Itanagar will be reduced by 150 km and the railway travel distance between these two points will shorten by 705 km, while this bridge will provide an alternate and shorter route from Dibrugarh through north bank of Brahmaputra to Delhi and Kolkata via Rangiya, he added.

 With inputs from PTI

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