PM Modi to inaugurate India’s longest road bridge in Assam tomorrow
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New Delhi: India’s longest bridge that will connect Assam to Arunachal Pradesh over the Lohit river opens to the public on Friday, reducing travel time between the two states from six hours to one hour.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 9.3km bridge connecting Dhola in Arunachal Pradesh to Sadiya in Assam, built at a cost of Rs2,056 crore.
The bridge has strategic significance since it is near Anini, 100km from China border, and can withstand the weight of a 60-tonne battle tank.
The bridge reduces distance from Rupai in Assam to Meka, Roing, in Arunachal Pradesh by 165km. According to a road ministry estimate, the bridge will save transport fuel worth Rs10 lakh per day in the region.
Built by Navayuga Engineering Co. Ltd, the Dhola-Sadiya bridge is 3.55-km longer than the sea link over the Mahim Bay in Mumbai, the longest bridge in the country as of now.
The bridge is located 540km from Assam capital Guwahati. On the other end, it is 300km from Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar.
A senior road ministry official, on condition of anonymity, said at present, to cross Brahmaputra river from this location, one needs to take a ferry and that too only during day. “During floods, it was impossible for people to travel, but with this bridge, the government has ensured 24x7 connectivity between upper Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh,” he said, adding the project will allow overall economic development of the region and facilitate a number of hydro-power projects coming up in Arunachal Pradesh.
Construction began in 2011 and was slated to be completed by 2015 at a sanctioned project cost of Rs950 crore. However, it got delayed by two years.
Mega structures have two roles, according to Jaijeet Bhattacharya, partner infrastructure at KPMG. “They make people’s life easier and hence gives an economic fillip to the local economy. Mega structures also help in signalling that the government means business and that it will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the country gets world-class infrastructure which in turn helps attract more investments,” he said.
There is significant potential for economic integration of the North East of India, and onwards to the emerging economies like Vietnam and Myanmar, said Manish Agarwal, lead capital projects and infrastructure at PWC. “Mega projects like this will be critical in exploiting this potential by positioning Assam and the neighbouring region as a major gateway,” he said.
An IIT Delhi professor on condition of anonymity said: “To develop a mega structure structural design is the key to success. The design decides how much weight a bridge can hold, what kind of wind speed it can take, how much traffic can it bear etc. Also, the soil chemistry determines the strength of the structure. With India coming up with more and more such structures like tunnels and rail-road bridges, it seems India is ready to take a giant leap in infra development.”
Length of the project: 28.50km
Bridge including viaducts: 9.15km
Carriageway width: 3 lanes (10.5 metres)
Number of piers: 183
Project cost: Rs2,056 crore