Bihar bridge collapse: construct new bridge instead of repairing damaged portion, says IIT-Roorkee

The report also says there is a defect in the design of the bridge due to which the pillars could not support the load of the superstructure; probe team has submitted its report to the Road Construction Department

June 08, 2023 08:44 pm | Updated 08:44 pm IST - Patna

 A view of a site where an under-construction Aguwani-Sultanganj bridge collapsed for the second time, in Bhagalpur on Monday. The bridge collapsed on June 04.

A view of a site where an under-construction Aguwani-Sultanganj bridge collapsed for the second time, in Bhagalpur on Monday. The bridge collapsed on June 04. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has submitted its investigation report on the Aguwani-Sultanganj bridge which collapsed on Sunday. The probe team has recommended to construct a new bridge instead of repairing the damaged structure. 

The four-lane bridge over river Ganga in Bhagalpur is being constructed at a cost of ₹1,716 crore. The bridge is expected to connect Sultanganj in Bhagalpur district and Aguwani in Khagaria district. The bridge collapsed for the second time during construction on Sunday.

On April 30, 2022, the superstructure between pillars No. 4 and 6 fell due to strong wind and rain. 

The IIT-Roorkee report says that there is a defect in the design of the bridge due to which the pillars could not support the load of the superstructure. The probe team has submitted its report to the Road Construction Department (RCD).

A senior RCD official on request of anonymity said, “In the report, the IIT-Roorkee has recommended demolition of the entire bridge and construction of a new bridge with a new design.”

The RCD official also said that the probe team’s recommendations would be discussed with senior officials, RCD Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar before a final decision is taken. The official refused to share the full report and its findings. 

Since the beginning, questions have been raised on the design of the bridge which is also a dream project of Mr. Kumar. Sources said RCD has already started preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a new bridge though plans have not been made official.

Two days back, Mr. Yadav had categorically said that there was a need to build a new bridge. The ruling government led by Mr. Kumar and his deputy Mr. Yadav has been facing stringent criticism from the Opposition BJP which has called for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into Sunday’s bridge collapse.

The State government has already issued show-cause notice to S.P. Singla Construction Private Limited, which is constructing the bridge, asking why the government should not blacklist the company. The company has been asked to respond in 15 days.

Started in 2014, the project has so far missed eight deadlines. It was scheduled to be completed in 2019 and later it was hoped that the bridge would be ready by the end of this month.

BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand demanded a judicial inquiry stressing that “there should be a proper investigation on the relations between CM Kumar and the construction company”. Mr. Anand said the Bihar government has awarded several projects to the “tainted company”.

On February 23, 2014, Mr. Kumar laid the foundation stone for the construction of the bridge in Khagaria. On March 9, 2015, he inaugurated its work, which started from 2016.

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