Friday, 22 February 2019

Changing Face of Bihar || हमारा बदलता बिहार || Reconstruction of Gandhi Setu

Mahatma Gandhi Setu is a bridge over the river Ganges connecting Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north of Bihar. Its length is 5,750 metres and it is the second longest river bridge in India. It was inaugurated in May 1982 by the then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi.





The existing superstructure of the
bridge is proposed to be completely demolished and triangular steel girders, as seen in rail-cum-road bridges such

as Rajendra Setu or Koilwar rail-cum-road bridge, would be erected. The construction work of Mahatma Gandhi Setu is set to commence from January next year with the state road construction department (RCD) on Friday signing an agreement with AFCON Infrastructure Limited.

The construction work would be undertaken in two phases – the upstream (Patna-Hajipur) and downstream (Hajipur-Patna). The upstream of the bridge would be completely demolished first and vehicles from both sides would be allowed to move only on the downstream side.

The project is targeted to be completed in 42 months with an estimated expenditure of Rs 1,742.01 crore. Vehicles would be able to run at a speed of 100kmph on the 5.575km-long bridge, once it is completely renovated.

“Ministry of road, transport and highways has awarded the contract for the project to AFCON. Bihar government, being a party to the project, entered into an agreement with AFCON on Friday. Representatives from AFCON, including its engineers, would start site- inspection post Dussehra and actual work on the project is likely to commence from January,” said Ram Awdhesh Kumar, chief engineer, national highway wing, RCD.
Built in 1982, the Setu started showing damages from 1991. Over Rs 200 crore has been spent on maintenance of the bridge since 2004. The Setu is being used in a limited manner at present because of ongoing repair work on its western flank, between the 43rd and 46th pillars. Recently, a viaduct of the bridge got damaged.

The entire process for rehabilitation has been elaborated in the detailed project report for the project prepared by Mumbai-based S N Bhobe & Associates Private Limited.
According to the report, the central hinges in the bridge have deteriorated over time and they are damaged beyond repair. Besides, expansion joints have also damaged extensively, though the foundation and substructure of the bridge are still in satisfactory condition. Accordingly, the report recommended replacing the existing superstructure while retaining the foundation and substructure.

“Truss, triangles with square shaped boxes underneath, would be made using steel girders. The square-shaped boxes would act as castings, in which concrete would be filled. The truss would take the entire load of the vehicles and the pillars would only have to bear the weight of the truss, which would be much lower,” said an RCD official.

The rehabilitated bridge would be 14 metre wide and it would have four lanes. Other utilities on the bridge would include footpath (1.5 metre wide), railings, anti-crash barrier, utility carrier and solar-powered street lights.

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