Patna: The Rail -Road Bridge connecting Digha and Sonepur is expected to be operational by 2017. The Bridge connecting Digha Ghat of Patna and Pahleja Ghat of Sonepur would be the second such structure after Rajendra Setu near Barauni.
Recently, GM of ECR Mr. Madhuresh Kumar hinted that the bridge is likely to get operational by 2015, but sources contradict it after witnessing the slow pace of work.
The bridge, with a proposed length of 4.5km over Ganga, would be a boon for the people of Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Chhapra, Siwan, Gorakhpur and other districts of north Bihar, as they would not have to take the Gandhi Setu to visit the capital.
The initial Cost of the Bridge Construction was Rs. 1,38,9 Crores, out of which Rs. 240 Lakhs were spent on Survey alone. An IRCON official said on condition of anonymity that the cost may go up to Rs 3,000 crore till the time the project is completed.
Technically, it will be K-Truss Bridge with 39 pillars and a total length of 14998 ft The total length of construction, including approaches, would be 20 km.
The Bridge has been one of the worst victims of Regional Politicking. In 1996, survey work for the proposed bridge was initiated by the Railways at three possible sites — Digha-Sonepur, Gulzarbagh-Hajipur and Ict Ghat-Sonepur. Ram Vilas Paswan was then the Union Railway Minister and he lent his support to the Gulzarbagh-Hajipur site, as Hajipur was the constituency from which he was elected.
Lalu Prasad Yadav, then Chief Minister of Bihar, lent his support to the Digha-Sonepur site. In the wake of the conflicting support of the political heavy weights, disturbances broke out at Sonepur. One person was shot dead. Many experts opined in favour of building the rail bridge adjacent to the Mahatma Gandhi Setu, the road bridge connecting Hajipur with Patna. However, political opinion prevailed and the Digha-Sonepur site was selected.
The bridge was finally sanctioned during the term as Union Railway Minister of Nitish Kumar, the present Chief Minister of Bihar. The scope of work was expanded when Lalu Prasad Yadav was the Union Railway Minister.