NAHARLAGUN, Feb 2: The delay in construction of a steel bridge over the Pachin river at Borum, near the Naharlagun helipad, is causing much trouble to the citizens of the Capital Complex.
Though the foundation stone for the bridge was laid way back in 2016, the actual work started only in May 2017, and since then it is progressing at a snail’s pace.
Once completed, the bridge will provide alternative connectivity to motorists travelling towards Lekhi, Nirjuli and Banderdewa as they will be able to avoid the crowded NH 415 in Naharlagun.
Initially, Rs 5.49 crore had been sanctioned for a single-lane steel bridge. The PWD’s Naharlagun division floated the tender in January 2017, and the whole process was completed by March. However, the work started only in May of that year.
The work was further delayed due to reported washing away of construction materials in a flashflood in the Pachin river. The project was also reportedly delayed due to constant change in the state’s leadership.
Further complicating the matter, the PWD changed the width of the bridge midway.
“At first the department issued tender for a 4.05 metres wide bridge. But this was for single lane, and as per the expert view it did not serve the purpose of constructing a new bridge with the aim of easing traffic congestion. Therefore a new proposal, amounting to Rs 16 crore, for a bridge 7.5 metres wide (two-lane) has been submitted to the state government. We are hoping that the government will approve it in the greater interest of the citizens of the Capital Complex,” said an official of the PWD.
Local MLA Techi Kaso, who is also the parliamentary secretary for PWD, informed that the change in proposal, from single lane to double lane, has delayed the bridge project.
Kaso added that three more bridges have been planned to be built in various parts of the Capital Complex to ease traffic congestion.
“We have submitted a proposal for a bridge at F&G Sector, on the Division-IV road in Ganga (Itanagar), another on G Extension-Polo Colony road (Naharlagun) and a third connecting Naharlagun with Pachin Colony. I have apprised the deputy chief minister and the chief minister in this regard, and they are supportive of it. They are aware that once these bridges are constructed it will improve the traffic situation in the entire capital region,” said Kaso.
Justifying the move to increase the width of the bridge midway, PWD Chief Engineer Katung Wahge informed that the department has learned a harsh lesson from the Bailey bridge at F&G Sector, on the Ganga-Division IV road in Itanagar.
“The said bridge is of single lane and is witnessing constant traffic jams. Therefore we reviewed the project and decided to construct two-lane bridges. After completion, the steel bridge over the Pachin river at Borum will serve as an important route for motorists travelling towards Nirjuli,” said Wahge.
He informed that the foundation work for the bridge is almost complete. He exuded confidence that the state government would approve the new proposal for a double-lane bridge, and that work will be completed on time.
Naharlagun PWD Division Executive Engineer Techi Nabo said that the work is progressing on a war footing and the department is making sincere effort to complete it at the earliest.
“Two piling machines are working day and night. Though we are awaiting approval for the new proposal, the work has not been affected in any way,” said Nabo.
Now it is upto the state government whether to accept or reject the proposal for a two-lane bridge. However, there is no denying that construction of a two-lane bridge over the Pachin river at Borum will immensely help ease traffic congestion in Naharlagun.