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News Entry# 70838  
Apr 28 2012 (1:18AM)  Railways hurry to finish India's longest bridge (gulfnews.com)
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News Entry# 70838     
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Posted by: Mahesh Gupta  55 news posts  
Dibrugarh The railways are battling time and resource crunch to complete the country's longest 4.94 km rail-cum-road-bridge across the Brahmaputra river at Bogibeel which will provide connectivity to upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and cut down on time to access China border by 10 hours.
The railways say they hope to complete the bridge by 2015. The bridge is set to strengthen national security as it would reduce time to reach the China border in case troops and supplies have to be moved, officials say.
There are concerns over the delay in the Rs32.3 million (Dh2.21 million) project as the rising cost of construction, combined with a resource crunch, could push the final cost to around Rs40 billion.
According to officials, the bridge
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will also provide connectivity to around five million people residing in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Once completed, it would have an edge over the Tezpur bridge, which is around 300km downstream, in providing connectivity to the people of upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, officials said.
Construction work can only be carried out from mid-November to mid-March as rains in the remaining period swell the mighty river.
"We hope to complete the project by 2015," chief engineer Ajit Pandit told IANS. Though the foundation stone of the Bogibeel bridge project was laid by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002, the pace of work got a boost only after it got the status of national project in 2007 and central funds started flowing.
Engineers involved in the project said latest technology is being used to build the superstructure of the bridge, which will be largely maintenance-free.
Hoping to commission the bridge in the next three years, the railways have started converting metre gauge tracks to broad gauge on the Dhamalgaon to Sisibargaon link.
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