In a bid to improve the poor connectivity between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, PM Narendra Modi has inaugurated today the Dhola Sadiya Bridge – the longest in India. Mr Modi dedicated the bridge to the nation, while also naming it after the legendary singer from the Assamese region – Bhupen Hazarika. The new bridge has three lanes, is 9.16 kilometer long and is an architectural marvel. If one considers the length of the approach roads, the total length of the project road is 28.5 km. With the opening of the new bridge, the connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh will get a boost.
In view of the recent war of words between India and China, where the latter has constantly been challenging the sovereignty of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, the new bridge is crucial from a connectivity and logistics standpoint. In addition to being a strategic asset, the new bridge will also serve the civilians and will bring a huge respite to those traveling between the two regions. With the new bridge, Assam and Eastern parts of Arunachal Pradesh will enjoy round the clock connectivity. The travel time between the two regions which was more than six hours earlier, will now stand at 1 hour – a reduction of more than 5 hours. The distance between the two points will be reduced by 165 km. According to some estimates, the new bridge will help save petrol and diesel to the tune of INR 10 lakh on a daily basis.
Built with a cost of Rs 2,056 crore, the new bridge can withstand 60 tonnes of weight, including military battle tanks. Since the area over which the bridge has been built comes under an active seismic zone, the entire structure has been made earthquake proof with seismic buffers in all its 182 piers.
The Dhola Sadiya bridge is built over the Lohit river, which is one of the tributaries of the mighty Brahmaputra. The bridge, as evident by the name, connects Dhola village and Sadiya town which is the birthplace of Bhupen Hazarika. Earlier, the only way to cross the Lohit river was by ferry, and that too only during the daytime. There was no connectivity between the two regions during the floods.
The bridge has been constructed as part of the Arunachal Package of Roads and Highways on BOT (build, operate, transfer) basis under the Ministry’s Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North East (SARDP-NE).