Mahatma Gandhi Setu

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Timings : All time

Time Required : Less than 1 hour

Entry Fee : The toll fees depend on the GST and taxes decided by the government and the type of vehicle.

Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna Overview

Mahatma Gandhi Setu is the second longest river bridge in India, the first one being Bhupen Hazarika Setu (a.k.a. Dhola-Sadiya Bridge) in Assam. The Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Bihar extends over the Ganges for 5.7 kilometres. Named after the father of the nation, the bridge connects the capital city of Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north. The bridge has four lanes of roadways and pedestrian pathways on each side, it is an indispensable part of the daily vehicular transport. Earlier, there used to be toll gates, but the Government has revoked that. It provides some spectacular views of the sacred Ganga flowing underneath.

Currently, the National Highway 19 operates through it. The government has scheduled the building of two Pontoon bridges (floating bridges) parallel to it to curb traffic, which has drastically increased over the years. Before the erection of the bridge, people from this region travelled to Patna and Hajipur respectively by ferries or boats. Although congestion and traffic problems are present on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu, its significance cannot be contradicted.

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Importance of the Mahatma Gandhi Setu

Before its erection, the Rajendra Setu was the only link between northern and southern Bihar, 90 kilometres east of Patna. The lengthy viaduct was commissioned in 1969 with Gammon India Limited undertaking construction in 1972 until it was inaugurated by former prime minister Smt. Indira Gandhi in 1982. The primary purpose served by Mahatma Gandhi Setu is the connecting of the northern part of the state with the rest of it and a portion of NH19. Serving as a lifeline for thousands of people in and around the region, the bridge is a remarkable feat of engineering with forty-five piers each of height 121 meters supporting it, leaving enough space underneath to fit a ship. Its legacy stands strong as a commemorative postage stamp of denomination 0500 paise was released in 2007 on the Landmark Bridges of India.

History of Mahatma Gandhi Setu

The bridge was asked to be commissioned by the Bihar State Road Development Corporation. In 1969, the Central Government approved, and construction was assigned to the largest civil engineering construction company in India, Gammon India Limited. Works began in 1972 and took 10 years for completion. Supposed to have been opened to the public in 1978, it was the subject of delays due to natural disasters and workers' strikes. It took around INR 87 crores approximately to cover the building and maintaining expenses. It is now maintained by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Before Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Rajendra Setu, a bridge with a two-lane road and a single line railway track were the only means of road communication between north and south Bihar.

EngineeringĀ Details of Mahatma Gandhi Setu

Constructed by India's largest civil engineering construction company, the bridge is considered to be an engineering marvel by many. The bridge has 45 spans of 121 meters each and one span of 65.53 meters on both sides. Cantilever slabs with hinge bearings and box girders were used. This kind of technology being used back in the 1970s truly makes this one of the best feats of Indian engineering. The building of the bridge cost a whopping 88 crore.

Recent DevelopmentsĀ 

The bridge is now in a dilapidated condition owing to the massive overload caused by thousands of vehicles passing by. Heavy exceeding traffic has caused a rise of pollution and accidents. Chaos and congestion in the form of long traffic jams are a daily affair. The condition of the bridge is so delicate that it might crumble down at any given moment. After 15 years of failed efforts made by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the repair work for the bridge in January 2017. The existing superstructure shall be dismantled, and a complete rehabilitation is to be done. Meanwhile, two pontoon bridges running parallel to the setu have been constructed to facilitate decongestion of overflowing traffic.

Things To See at Mahatma Gandhi Setu

The scenic view of the river Ganga validates the vastness of the nation's largest and the world’s third largest river by discharge. The 5.7-kilometer long viaduct is an engineering marvel and beautiful sight to see at night when it is brightened up by different coloured lights.

Tips For Visiting Mahatma Gandhi Setu

1. Take great care while riding/driving on this bridge as it is prone to massive jams.
2. Be aware of the traffic and congestion problems on the bridge as it undergoes repairs at some part or the other on an almost daily basis.
3. Also, Hajipur is famous for its abundant banana production.

How To Reach Mahatma Gandhi Setu

This bridge is the lifeline of two districts, Patna and Hajipur. Hence, it can be reached from either north or south Bihar. Patna is well connected to nearby major cities like Lucknow, Allahabad, Kolkata and Kanpur. Some interstate transport buses locomote on a daily basis and are an option.

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