New bridge across Godavari beset by delays

Executing agency missed three deadlines since 2015

There seems to be no immediate end in sight to the travails of motorists in commuting on the nearly 55-year-old bridge across Godavari River at Bhadrachalam beset by frequent traffic congestion.

The construction of a new bridge of 1.20 km length and 12 metre width, parallel to the existing old bridge above the Godavari, at the temple town has been pending for more than five years.

Work on the new bridge started in 2015 at an estimated cost of ₹ 65 crore to decongest traffic on the old bridge, the crucial road link on the National Highway 30 (Old NH 221) at Telangana’s famous temple town, bordering Andhra Pradesh.

The Maharashtra-based executing agency missed three construction deadlines since 2015. Multiple factors ranging from initial delay in carrying out civil works due to rocky terrain in the river zone to recurrent floods led to inordinately delay in execution of works on the most sought-after new bridge, sources said.

The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns during the first and second waves of the pandemic added to the delay.

Motorists bound for Bhadrachalam and the vast tribal region spanning across Telangana’s border with Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh continue to grapple with frequent traffic snarls on the narrow old bridge at the temple town.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) imposed penalties on the contracting firm for the delay in execution of works on the new bridge, sources added.

Collector D. Anudeep reviewed the progress of works on the new bridge at Bhadrachalam with the officials concerned in Kothagudem recently. He asked the officials to ensure speedy execution of the remaining works on the bridge to complete it at the earliest.

The second bridge across the Godavari is a long-felt need of denizens of the temple town to surmount the daily ordeal of traffic congestion on the existing narrow bridge, said Babu, a vegetable vendor of Sarapaka. During the festival seasons, the traffic congestion on the bridge at the temple town gets worse, he pointed out.

Nearly 77 % of the work on the new bridge has been completed and efforts are on to expedite the remaining work relating to the main components such as laying of slabs across the girders so as to complete the construction of the bridge within one year, a senior official of the NHAI told The Hindu.

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