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ADB to provide $ 500 million for longest bridge across Ganga in Bihar
New Delhi, November 15, 2016
The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India today signed a $500 million loan to build a 9.8 km long road bridge across River Ganga to improve transport connectivity between North and South Bihar and for better link between the state capital, Patna, and the surrounding areas.
This will be India’s longest river bridge, an official press release said.
The new Ganga Bridge, to be located near Patna, will span both channels of the river and serve as an alternate route to the existing Ganga Bridge. The project will also build viaducts, embankments, and toll and service facilities, and will link to national highway networks, the release said.
The signatories to the loan agreement for the Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project were Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr. L. B. Sondjaja, Deputy Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB.
The Project Agreement was signed by Mr. Jayant Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, Finance Department, Government of Bihar, and Mr. Pankaj Kumar, Managing Director, Bihar State Road Development Corporation.
Mr. Sondjaja said that the new Ganga Bridge will significantly reduce travel time to Patna from the surrounding regions, in particular north Bihar, which will ease access of people to state’s administrative and social services. He further said that the bridge is expected to benefit over nine million people.
Mr Raj Kumar said that the construction of the bridge would be a major landmark for the State of Bihar and will be a crucial link between North and South Bihar which is divided by the Ganges River. He said that the bridge will be a boon for the inhabitants of Raghopur Diara river island who will gain year-round road access. Currently, the 250,000 inhabitants of the island rely on boats and a seasonal pontoon bridge as their only links to Patna.
Bihar, the third most populous State in India with over 100 million inhabitants, has poverty levels above the national average, with seven out of 10 of the state’s poorest districts 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 Bihar state, and the capacity of existing bridges is already stretched, undermining connectivity and access to opportunities for northern communities.
The bridge, using state-of-the-art engineering techniques, will be the first of its kind in India. 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.
Along with ADB’s loan and $ 900,000 in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management, the state government of Bihar will provide support equivalent to $ 215 million. The project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2020.