R DUTTA CHOUDHURY
GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - The process of construction of the Kurua-Narengi bridge over the river Brahmaputra, which aims to reduce the traffic congestion in Guwahati city is getting delayed because of the failure of the State Public Works Department (PWD) to hand over the relevant information to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
It was decided in the first week of April this year that the bridge would be constructed by the NHAI and the fund for it would be provided by the Government of India. During the Namami Brahmaputra festival, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, held a meeting with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and it was decided in the meeting that the Government of India would provide funds for the construction of the important bridge to ensure free flow of traffic from upper to lower Assam. After the completion of the bridge, the traffic movement between upper and lower Assam will become smooth and it is estimated that at least 60 per cent of the traffic congestion in the Guwahati bypass can be reduced.
NHAI sources told The Assam Tribune that as per the agreement, the State PWD was supposed to hand over the feasibility study report and detailed project report to the NHAI so that it can start construction of the vital bridge. The PWD had reportedly carried out some feasibility studies of the bridge and entrusted the RITES, a Government of India enterprise, to prepare the DPR. But till today, no document has been handed over to the NHAI to start working on the project.
Sources said that repeated reminders have already been given to the PWD to hand over the documents relating to the bridge, but “so far we received no document and we are not aware of the feasibility report or estimated cost,” sources added. The Centre has also informed the Chief Minister about the failure of the PWD to hand over the papers to the NHAI. “Without receiving the relevant information from the PWD , it is not possible for the NHAI to start working on the project. The feasibility report and the DPR will have to be checked thoroughly and modifications on the design may have to be made if required before the construction of the bridge,” sources pointed out.
Sources revealed that the bridge when completed, would be of great help in reducing the traffic congestion in Guwahati city as vehicles - including heavy vehicles like trucks and buses - would be able to bypass the city to travel between upper and lower Assam. The present National Highway bypass is not very effective as it has turned out to be more of a city road, sources added.
Official sources further said that the new bridge would be connected by road from Baihata Chariali so that vehicles can bypass Guwahati city and it will also be connected with National Highway 37. The bridge will also reduce travel time between upper and lower Assam to a great extent.