A crucial river-bridge on NH-6 near Kolaghat, approximately 70 km from Kolkata, was completed on April 1. Developed by the Mumbai-based Ashoka Buildcon, the 1.2-km bridge over Roopnarayan River was a Golden Quadrilateral project undertaken by National Highways Authority of India in 2001.
Though the four-laning of the highway was completed in 2004, the crucial 1.2-km long bridge remained incomplete, leading to traffic snarls on the highway connecting Kolkata with Chennai and Mumbai. The construction of the bridge was taken up again during the ongoing six-laning of the highway. The tender was floated in 2010. The bridge is expected to reduce the travel time of cargo from Kolkata to Haldia Port by an hour or two.
Both the flanks (three-lane each) of the bridge are now open. According to a press statement by Ashoka Buildcon, while the unfinished side of the bridge was commissioned in 10 months, construction on the other side was completed in about a year’s time. The project faced serious hurdles when the NHAI scrapped the original contract midway in 2006 owing to alleged technical flaws.
Even after a second contractor was appointed in 2009, political interference impacted the completion of the bridge.