Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge over the Brahmaputra river in Assam’s Bogibeel. The double decker bridge is set to revolutionise transport in the North-East. It will facilitate connectivity between north and south banks of river Brahmaputra in the eastern region of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The 5-km structure will reduce travel-time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh by four hours by cutting out the former route via Tinsukia. The bridge, which was a part of the Assam Accord, consists of a two-line railway track on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the top deck.
The structure is also an engineering marvel being India’s first fully-welded bridge adhering to the European model. It’s also strong enough to support the movement of tanks and even fighter jet. Given its proximity to Indo-China border, the Bogibeel Bridge has tremendous significance for India’s defence system. Built at an estimated cost of Rs 5,900 crore, the bridge has a “serviceable period of around 120 years”.
The foundation stone of the project was laid by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda on January 22, 1997, while work commenced on April 21, 2002, under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government. The Congress-led UPA government had declared it a national project in 2007.
Due to inordinate delay in its 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.