Amid fears of damage to railroad Saraighat Bridge railways assures its safety; repairs of road section to begin soon

Within days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the Bogibeel Bridge over the Brahmaputra, the longest railroad bridge in India, fears have surfaced over the condition of the first such bridge over the river.

Amid reports of damage to the Saraighat Bridge near Guwahati, the first bridge over the Brahmaputra inaugurated in 1963 by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, railway authorities have assured its safety but promised repair works.

“Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway would like to categorically state that there is no danger to the bridge and NF Railway (is) planning to carry out massive repair of the road deck portion in the next few days,” said a release issued on Thursday evening.

Railways authorities had placed thick steel plates at five points on the road portion of the 1.5km long bridge after concrete joints at some places started falling off. This had led to fears that the bridge was unsafe.

As part of the repair work, 80 deck slabs of the bridge would be replaced and a new asphalt layer would be laid over the entire bridge. Work would begin within the next few days and would continue round the clock.

The Saraighat Bridge handles a huge volume of rail and road traffic daily. Commissioning of a new bridge over the Brahmaputra close to the first one has helped ease road traffic a bit.

“Although the steel girders of the bridge have been constantly maintained, the road portion could not be adequately attended due to the constant presence of large volume of road traffic,” the NF Railway release stated.

In order to repair the road portion of the bridge, traffic will have to be stopped for nearly three months. Railway authorities say the work is expected to begin in the second half of January.

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 11:55 IST

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