India’s longest rail-road bridge, connecting Dibrugarh on the southern bank of river Brahmaputra to Dhemaji on the northern bank, is nearing completion, The Shillong Times has reported.
The bridge - second longest in Asia by some accounts - is 4.94 km long and 32 metres above the water level of the Brahmaputra river. It has a three-lane road on top and two rail lines in the lower section. Its design, the PTI has reported, is based on the sea-crossing bridge that links Sweden and Denmark.
Approval for the bridge was granted in 1996 and construction was initiated in 2002 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government.
Currently, there are three bridges in Assam which provide connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh. These include a bridge in Jogighopa in Bongaigaon district, Saraighat near Guwahati and Kolia-Bhomora bridge between Sonitpur and Nagaon. However, to take cargo from Dibrugarh in the north-eastern corner of Assam to the other bank of the Brahmaputra river, it transported over a 600 km.
"Now, to go from Dibrugarh to Arunachal Pradesh by train, one has to go via Guwahati with more than 500 km detour. With this bridge, the journey will be less than 100 km," chief construction engineer of the project, Mahender Singh.
After the construction of the bridge is completed, a 29.47 km road will connect two national highways in the region - NH-37 near the south bank of the Brahmaputra River and NH-52 near the north bank.
Apart from bringing economic benefits for the region, the bridge will serve an important purpose for the Indian Army. It will enable troops stationed along the disputed border with China to get supplies from Tezpur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the bridge by the end of the year, the Times of India had reported in May.
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