Mahatma Gandhi Setu is a bridge over the river Ganges in Bihar, India, connecting Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north. Its length is 5,750 meters (18,860 ft) and it is the third-longest river bridge in India. It was inaugurated in May 1982 in a ceremony in Hajipur by the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi.
Importance of Mahatma Gandhi Setu
Before its erection, the Rajendra Setu was the only link between northern and southern Bihar, 90 kilometers east of Patna. The lengthy viaduct was commissioned in 1969 with Gammon India Limited undertaking construction in 1972 until it was inaugurated by former prime minister Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1982. The primary purpose served by Mahatma Gandhi Setu is the connecting of the northern part of the state with the rest of it and a portion of NH19. Serving as a lifeline for thousands of people in and around the region.
History of Mahatma Gandhi Setu
The bridge was asked to be commissioned by the Bihar State Road Development Corporation. In 1969, the Central Government approved, and construction was assigned to the largest civil engineering construction
company in India, Gammon India Limited. Works began in 1972 and took 10 years for completion.
- Construction started: The year 1972
- Scheduled opening: June 1978.
- Tender cost: Rs 23.50 crore
- 1st Extension of Time (EOT): June 1980
- Allocated cost: Rs 46.67 crore
- Reasons for cost increase: This extra cost is the outcome of an “in-built” cost escalation clause in the contract
- Reasons for the delay: Heavy storm in April 1979 destroyed two gantries and casting beds. Each gantry crane weighs 300 tonnes. Huge shortage of cement and building material and a workers’ strike
- Reports: Cement and other building materials stored for this project find their way into Nepal and parts of Bihar
from the northern side of the bridge.
- 2nd Extension of Time (EOT): December 1981
- Project progress: 80% ( physical ) up to September 1980
- Billed value: Rs 41 crore
- Contractor’s extra claim : Rs 50 crore
The bridge is an engineering marvel having 45 intermediate spans (piers) of 121m each. This provides ample height to the bridge to accommodate a ship underneath it. Also, one span of 65.53 m each is present on both ends. Using Cantilever slabs with hinge bearings and box girders as construction technology, the bridge cost nearly INR 88 million back in the 1970s and 80s.
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