Assam can proudly boost of having some of the longest bridges in the country.
When the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge, later christened as Bhupen Hazarika Setu, was inaugurated last year, it emerged as the longest road bridge in the country at 9.15 kilometres (5.69 miles) in length.
A beam bridge in the country, the bridge connected the two neighbouring states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The bridge spans the Lohit River, a major tributary of the Brahmaputra River, from the village of Dhola in Tinsukia district in the south to Sadiya to the north.
The bridge also emerged as the first permanent road connection between the northern Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh.
With rapid movement of India’s defense assets in mind following incursions by the Chinese Army, the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge has been designed to handle the weight of 60-tonne (130,000-pound) tanks such as the Indian Army’s Arjun and T-72 main battle tanks.
Now, the Bogibeel Bridge is all set to script another history as the longest rail-cum-road bridge in the country.
The longest ever rail-cum-road bridge in the country with a length of 4.98 kms connects Bogibeel in the south bank of the Brahmaputra with Kareng Chapori on the north.
The design of Bogibeel Bridge has 39 spans of 125 m and a superstructure of composite welded steel truss and reinforced concrete. It is designed to carry a double line 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 inches) broad gauge railway on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper deck.
Next in the pipeline is the Dhubri-Phulbari bridge which will be about 20 km long, at an estimated staggering length of 19.3 km.
The bridge over River Brahmaputra in Dhubri district when completed will bringing the people of two states – Assam and Meghalaya – closer.
The construction work of the longest ever river bridge over River Brahmaputra, is likely to be started soon as the Dhubri district administration has begun the process of land acquisition for construction of roads to facilitate free flow of traffic.
The bridge will link Dhubri town in Assam, located in the north bank of river Brahmaputra, to Phulbari, a small township, partly in Assam (South Salmara – Mankachar district) and mostly in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.
The international border with Bangladesh is located about 11 km away from Dhubri. It is expected that the bridge will cut a travel from over four to five hours of tough and pathetic journey on boats to just an hour.
The 20 km bridge will be an important segment of the NH 127 B crossing the river Brahmaputra.
Currently, small mechanised boats are being used to transport people and light freights across the Brahmaputra in this section.
NH 127B is a National Highway stretching about 371 km starting from Srirampur in Assam and terminating at Nongstoin in Meghalaya. The section crossing the Brahmaputra river is a missing link of the route.
The four-lane bridge, estimated to be constructed at a cost over Rs 4000 crore, is targeted to be completed by 2026-27.
At present, vehicles take an over-200 km-long detour using the Naranarayan Bridge, which is 60 km upstream.
It may be mentioned that the Japanese funding agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has approved a loan up to 25.483 billion Yen for the construction of this bridge under phase no 3 of North East Road Network Connectivity Improvement Project while the National Highways and Industrial Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is looking after the entire work.