Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the country’s longest road and rail bridge connecting Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh by the end of the year, Times of India has reported.
While the construction-related work will be completed by the end of July, electrical and signalling work on the bridge will require two more months. Approval for the bridge was granted in 1996 and construction was initiated in 2002 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government.
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 three-lane roads on top and double line rail in the lower section. Its design, the PTI reported, based on a sea-crossing bridge that links Sweden and Denmark.
Currently, there are three Assam bridges 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, a cargo from Dibrugarh in the north-eastern corner of the state of Assam travels over a 600 km to merely cross the Brahmaputra river and reach the other bank.
"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.
Apart from bringing economic benefits for the region, the bridge will serve an important purpose for the armed forces. It will enable troops stationed at the China border to get supplies from Tezpur.
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