AJIT PATOWARY GUWAHATI, Oct 14 - Construction of the over Rs 300-crore, one-storey motorable Saraighat-II bridge over the Brahmaputra is expected to be completed by end of December.
Photo: Samarendra Sarma
Disclosing this, official sources here said that the construction activities of the bridge started in 2006 and because of numerous problems, it took Gammon India, the construction company engaged in the project, almost ten years to complete the construction. This is so far the longest single girder bridge in the country with a length of around 1,493 metres.
Moreover, it is constructed only at 40 metres downstream of the existing Saraighat-I bridge. Construction of a new major bridge so close to another major bridge is a very difficult task as far as sinking of the wells is concerned.
Besides, an operating oil pipeline also runs very close to two new wells of the new bridge. The Oil India Ltd (OIL) had expressed inability to shift the pipeline considering many factors, including cost and time. However, all the problems arising out of such factors were handled successfully, sources said.
Sources said on top of the above, flood and high current very much restricted the working period for the construction of the bridge. Every year, the working period was reduced to about five months due to these factors.
However, the bridge will be able to bear the highest prescribed load as per the Indian Road Congress specification. It will now cost slightly over Rs 300 crore, sources said.
Originally, only the main bridge and the grade separator were considered while planning the project. But later on, additional work of signal-free crossing at Jalukbari point was also added to the original scope of work as well as a flyover at the junction point of the road from Hajo. These have increased the cost of the project considerably compared to what was estimated originally.
Now, while the major works related with the project are completed, railings, crash barriers, mastic, bituminous carpeting of the main bridge and flyovers, earth work and pavement works are yet to be completed.
Rainfall activities during August and September last prevented laying of bituminous carpet over the girders. Rains also hampered construction of the approach road and earthwork, sources said.
When asked to explain the uniqueness in its construction, sources said this bridge is made of a single girder, which is resting on eleven wells and two pile foundations on high bank – one on each of the banks of the Brahmaputra.
When asked to explain the technique applied in constructing this single girder, sources said the girder was initially constructed as cantilever girders from each pier and then all ends of the girders were joined together to produce a continuous girder, sources said.