The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 24 June 2016 approved 500 million US dollars loan to build a road bridge across the river Ganga near Patna in Bihar.
Once completed, the 9.8 kilometer long bridge will be India’s longest river bridge.
Features of the bridge project
• It will provide vital transport links between the northern and southern parts of Bihar and with neighboring Nepal.
• Along with the bridge structure itself, the project will also build viaducts, embankments, and toll and service facilities, and will link to national highway networks.
• A key feature will be a year-round embankment access road for the 250000 inhabitants of the Raghopur Diara river island, ending their reliance on boats and a seasonal pontoon bridge as their only links to Patna.
• The bridge, using state-of-the-art engineering techniques, will be the first of its kind in India. In all, the bridge is expected to benefit over nine million people.
• The height and length have been designed to minimize impacts on the river itself and to ensure the bridge will be able to withstand climate-related stresses such as a rise in the water level.
• In addition to the 500 million US dollars loan, the ADB will provide 900000 US dollars in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management.
• The Bihar Government will provide support equivalent to 215 million US dollars.
• The project will run for about 4 years with an expected completion date of the end of December 2020.
Significance of the bridge to Bihar
• Bihar, the third most populous state in India with over 100 million inhabitants, has poverty levels above the national average. Out of the state’s 10 poorest districts, 7 are located in the north.
• Traffic volumes are rising but there are only four operational bridges along the 200 km stretch of the Ganges River that pass through the State.
• The capacity of existing bridges is already stretched, undermining connectivity and access to opportunities for northern communities.
• The new bridge, which will be located near Patna, will span both channels of the Ganges River and serve as an alternate route to the existing Ganga Bridge, which has begun to deteriorate.
• It will make it easier for people to move between jobs and markets, particularly for poorer communities in the north wishing to travel to the state capital, Patna, just south of the river.
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Who: $500 million loan
What: Approved by the ADB
When: 24 June 2016