The shifting course of the Ganga is not only a cause of concern for the environmentalist, but also those involved in the construction of mega rail-cum-road bridge over the river near Digha in the state capital.
Since the beginning of the project four years back, the Ganga has shifted northward by approximately 123 metres, causing one more span of the bridge to come under water. Out of the 37 spans of the bridge earlier, only 12 spans fell in the river stream, while the rest were to be built on land. But, in 2006, one more span has gone in water.
The existence of diara, which falls mid way between north channel and the south channel of the river is also in danger as the river is eroding it with every flood.
That the Ganga is shifting at a rate of 30-40 metres per year is borne out by the fact that out of 39 pillars of the bridge, earlier only 10 pillars of the bridge (P10 to P19) fell in the south channel of River Ganga. But four years later, it has increased by one more. “As on date, pillars number 10 to 20 fall in water,” said a senior official of the Ganga Bridge Construction Project. The distance between two pillars (span) is 123 metre.
Similar is the case with north channel of the river flowing on the Saran district side. “It has shifted southwards. As a result, the pillar number 32, which was earlier under water, is now on dry land and pillar number 30 has gone under water, about 70 metres inside,” said the officer.
Though the ECR officials deny any difficulty in construction of bridge, they accept that construction on land is always an easier proposition than on water. “Construction under water takes double the time,” admitted a senior engineer associated with bridge construction.
The bridge, which would be a replica of Mokama rail-cum-road bridge, would be 18-metre high (earlier it was 8 metres in case of rail bridge) from the land surface. Out of the 39 pillars, construction of pillars number 17 to 20 is yet to start. All these pillars fall in the south stream of the river where the depth of water varies from 8 to 12 metres.
The 4.56 km-long bridge is to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,389 crore, with rail and road costing Rs 835 crore and 554 crore respectively. Of this, the total length of the bridge over water is 1.6 km.
The total length of the bridge and approach rail line from Sonepur to Danapur would be 24 km.
The bridge will have the provision of two rail tracks but initially only one track would be made operational. Similarly, the road bridge would have two-lanes.
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