Bringing Assam and Arunachal Pradesh closer, the country's longest river bridge -- at 9.15 km - over the mighty Brahmaputra, is to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
The bridge which links Dhola to Sadiya -- located near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border -- in Assam's Tinsukia district, will cut travel time from over six hours to just one hour. Sadiya is the birthplace of the legendary Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika.
The Dhola-Sadiya bridge is longer than the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (5.6 km) in Mumbai by nearly two-thirds. The bridge -- the fourth over Brahmaputra river after Saraighat, Kolia Bhomora and Bogibeel (nearing completion) -- is expected to boost communication across the eastern part of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.
The bridge is also expected to transform and improve the road connectivity in the northeastern region, a government statement said.
"The bridge will fill a huge connectivity gap that has existed in the region," a statement from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said.
The bridge will also benefit the army, with convoys requiring less time to journey from Assam to the posts along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge is also expected to enhance India's defence capabilities in the northeastern region.
Since northeast is in a high-seismic region, the bridge has been provided seismic buffers in all its 182 piers.
Till now, the only means to cross the Brahmaputra in the location was through ferry only in day time, and even this was not possible during the floods, the Ministry statement said.
"The bridge will also reduce the distance from Rupai on NH-37 in Assam to Meka/Roing on NH-52 in Arunachal Pradesh by 165 km," it added.
"The travel time between the two places will come down from the current six hours to just one hour - a total five hour reduction," the Ministry said. This would lead to Rs 10 lakh worth saving of petrol and diesel per day.
The Ministry said the new bridge promises to usher in prosperity in the northeastern region and would provide efficient road connectivity to the remote and backward areas which have poor road infrastructure.
"This bridge will also give a major boost to overall economic development of the areas north of Brahmaputra in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
"It will also cater to the strategic requirements of the country in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, besides facilitating numerous hydro power projects coming up in the state," the statement added.
Built at a cost of Rs 2,056 crore, the total length of the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge project, including the approach roads on each side, is 28.50 km. The construction of Dhola-Sadiya bridge began in 2011 and the original target date for completion was December 2015.
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