NEW DELHI, Dec 5 - India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge at Bogibeel near Dibruharh will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25.
Highly placed sources in the Railway Ministry told this newspaper that formal confirmation from the Prime Minister’s Office was received here this evening. The Prime Minister is likely to be accompanied by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain.
The Bogibeel bridge connects the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra river and will boost connectivity between Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. The 4.94-km-long bridge has two railway lines at its lower deck and a three-lane road on the top.
The foundation stone for Bogibeel bridge was laid by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002. The bridge project has missed several deadlines partly because of the challenge of building it over a turbulent Brahmaputra river.
The Bogibeel bridge will save travel time, besides providing a crucial connectivity link to the Army to reach the Chinese border. As of now, a train trip from Arunachal Pradesh to Dibrugarh via Guwahati means additional 500 km of journey. But, with the inauguration of the Bogibeel bridge, the train journey will be less than 100 km. Additionally, Delhi to Dibrugarh train travel time will also come down by about three hours to 34 hours as against 37 hours presently.
The 100 per cent welded Bogibeel bridge has been built at a height of 32 metres above the Brahmaputra water level. The bridge, which has been made making use of techniques from Sweden and Denmark, is much lighter when compared to bridges with riveted girders. The design, too, is similar to a bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark. The bridge has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 4,857 crore.
The origin of the Bogibeel bridge can be traced back to the Assam Accord and it was one of several major infrastructure projects to be set up in Assam in accordance with the pact. The bridge project was sanctioned by the Government of India when HD Deve Gowda was the Prime Minister in 1997-98 and was expected to be completed by the end of the Ninth Five Year Plan.