Reconstructed MG Setu to become fully operational by June 1st week

Published on May 06, 2022 09:19 PM IST

The reconstructed Mahatma Gandhi Setu on river Ganga, which is the communication lifeline between north and south Bihar, will become fully operational from the first week of June, state’s road construction department (RCD) minister Nitin Nabin said on Friday.

The MG Setu on river Ganga (HT Photo)
The MG Setu on river Ganga (HT Photo)
By, Patna

The reconstructed Mahatma Gandhi Setu on river Ganga, which is the communication lifeline between north and south Bihar, will become fully operational from the first week of June, state’s road construction department (RCD) minister Nitin Nabin said on Friday.

“Final touches are being given to the eastern flank of the bridge, being reconstructed by the Union ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) under the Prime Minister’s package to Bihar, before its formal inauguration by Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who has given his consent for the function. Chief minister Nitish Kumar will be requested to grace the occasion,” said Nabin.

The western flank of the 5.57-km-long bridge in two lanes was opened for traffic by Gadkari on July 31, 2020. However, it was unable to tackle the load of traffic that often led to heavy traffic jams on the bridge.

The nearest bridge for heavy vehicles to cross river Ganga is in Bhojpur, which is around 35 km west of the MG Setu, and the rail-cum-road bridge, JP Setu in Patna, is off-limits for goods careers.

“The Union minister is likely to review various ongoing projects in the state on May 31, during which the RCD would raise the demand for formal approval of extension of Purvanchal Expressway from Buxar to Bhagalpur under Bharat Mala Phase-II. Besides, we will also request the Central government to expedite the process for building Raxaul-Haldia expressway via Patna and preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) of Naubatpur-Aurangabad four-lane road,” said the RCD minister.

Functionaries of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries and truckers’ association are also eagerly waiting for the inauguration, who say frequent traffic jams on MG Setu and subsequently high consumption of fuel have taken a toll on their businesses. “Cost of transportation has gone up due to frequent choking of traffic on MG Setu,” said president of Bihar Truck Owners’ Association, Bhanu Shekhar Prasad Singh.

The MoRTH has awarded the reconstruction of the 39-year-old cantilever MG Setu over the river Ganga to the Afcons Infrastructure limited at the cost of 1,742 crore in 2017 and the work began in the month of June the same year. Initially, the project was to complete by November 2018. However, the deadlines had to be deferred for multiple reasons, including the prevalence of Covid pandemic.

Inaugurated as the longest bridge on any river in India by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982, Mahatma Gandhi Setu has been in repair mode since 1999 and it remained so till 2016, until the remained the Central government approved its reconstruction plan.

About 250 crore is said to have been spent on the repair of the bridge whose original construction cost was 87 crore.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Subhash Pathak is special correspondent of Hindustan Times with over 15 years of experience in journalism, covering issues related to governance, legislature, police, Maoism, urban and road infrastructure of Bihar and Jharkhand.

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