Patna: Heavy vehicles have been barred from plying on the 5.575-km Gandhi Setu till the bridge repairs are over.
Earlier, the road construction department had written a letter to the district magistrates of Patna and Vaishali to give their suggestions as the Setu had become dangerous owing to overloading and heavy vehicles needed to be stopped on an urgent basis. The vehicles are mostly laden with sand, thermo-mechanically treated (TMT) bars, stone chips, bricks, LPG cylinders and other heavy materials.
Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi told The Telegraph: “I have received a letter from the chief secretary (read Anjani Kumar Singh) over prohibiting heavy vehicles on Gandhi Setu until repairs are complete. The alternative route for heavy vehicles is now Veer Kunwar Singh Setu popularly known as the Ara-Chhapra bridge and Rajendra Nagar-Mokama bridge.”
The road construction department has asked the chief secretary to take the final decision in the matter. The western flank of Gandhi Setu has been completely closed and even two-wheelers are not allowed.
Singh had held the meeting with this regard on May 14 with the respective district magistrates after which the DMs were asked to make necessary preparations.
The ministry of road transport and highways, which is carrying out restructuring of the Setu, has selected AFCONS-SIBMOST JV to execute the project. The rehabilitation work entails dismantling the Setu superstructure and replacing it with a steel structure at a cost of Rs 1,382.40 crore by May 18, 2020. At present, the agency is dismantling the western flank of the Setu and it is expected to be ready by December, 2018.
The DM added that passenger buses can use Gandhi Setu and notices would be put up at both ends of the Setu barring heavy vehicles. The district administration has also decided to depute adequate policemen and traffic force personnel to regulate traffic on the Setu as well as the Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge.
“The responsibility of traffic management on JP Setu and Gandhi Setu has been given to Patna police. For that, directions have been issued to provide a deputy superintendent of police, two inspectors and a deputy inspector-general-level officer to review traffic on both the bridges on a daily basis,” Ravi stressed. He added that the pontoon bridge parallel to Gandhi Setu was functioning well and lights had also been installed for convenience of post-sunset traffic.
On a daily average, 50,000 vehicles pass through the dilapidated Gandhi Setu out of which more than 10,000 are heavy vehicles.
Asked about the reason for taking such a step, road construction department minister Nand Kishore Yadav said: “The decision has been take amid the ongoing reconstruction work at Gandhi Setu and traffic jam caused by heavy vehicles.”
Earlier the National Highways Authority of India under which the Gandhi Setu falls had written a letter to the road construction department that the load on Gandhi Setu had increased, rendering the bridge unsafe, and had called for an alternative route.
Courtesy: The Telegraph