Gadkari opens 6-lane Koilwar bridge in Bihar, as CM Nitish Kumar skips event

New Koilwar Bridge opened

Patna: The six-lane bridge on river Sone linking Ara with Patna via National Highways (NH) 30 has been opened for traffic on both sides on Saturday. Opening of the bridge will make road travel easy for those heading to the state capital from South Bihar districts via NH-2.

The 1528-metre long and 32m wide bridge, parallel to the rail-cum-road Abdul Bari bridge operational since 1865, is part of the four-lane Koilwar-Ara-Buxar road project being executed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) at the cost of ₹1506.84 crore.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari formally inaugurated the northern carriageway of the bridge via video conferencing from New Delhi. The southern flank of the bridge was opened for traffic in December 2020.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar skips event

Bihar Chief Nitish Kumar skipped the function, citing his personal engagement. This is one of the rarest occasion when he refrained from attending an event like this. A senior leader of Janata Dal (United), which the CM hails from, said that Kumar was upset with Gadkari’s outrageous remark over caving in of a part of an under-construction bridge on the river Ganga between Bhagalpur and Khagaria on April 29. Absence of picture of the CM from the posters of inauguration also unsettled the JD(U) workers.

The bridge is important as it provides direct link between Patna and Varanasi via Buxar or Sasaram. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election rallies in Bhojpur region had also emphasized on bringing Patna and Varanasi on a smooth road route.

157-yr-old Abdul Bari Bridge outlives its utility

Currently, only southern portion of the steel lattice girder rail-cum-road bridge, popularly known as Koilwar bridge, is operational for vehicular traffic since it outlived its age. The 1.45km long bridge was opened for traffic 1862. Traffic load on the bridge has multiplied after a new road bridge came up on the river Ganga, connecting Doriganj (in Chapra) with Babura (in Ara), about three years ago.

An officer of the Bihar’s Road Construction Department (RCD) said that the new bridge cost around ₹210 crore. The whole project is being executed by a joint venture of PNC Infratech Limited. The project includes building of four-lane road between Koilawar and Ara (44km) and Ara-Buxar (53km) at the cost of ₹1506.84 crore.

New bridge to link Patna with Ghazipur Expressway

The officer said, “The Patna-Ara-Buxar road would connect Patna with Ghazipur Expressway. Buxar would be connected with Ghazipur. This project will make journey easy for people travelling to Lucknow from Patna as well. The MoRTH has sanctioned the Koilwar-Ara-Buxar project under the PM package for Bihar.”

RCD minister Nitin Nabin said that work on building expressway in Bihar would commence with the MoRTH extending full cooperation to develop road network in the state. “People of Bihar are set to benefit from the expressways connecting Gorakhpur to Siliguri, Raxaul to Haldia via Patna, Banaras to Kolkata,” said Nabin.

Union Minister and local MP from Arrah RK Singh, Union Minister and Buxar MP Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, executive chairman of Bihar Legislative Council Awadhesh Narayan Singh and State Agriculture Minister Amarendra Pratap Singh were prominent among those present on the occasion.

Project At A Glance:

Total project cost of road: ₹1506.84 crore

Length of road project: 107km

Cost of new 6-lane bridge at Koilwar: ₹210 crore

Length of bridge: 1.53 km

Initial deadline for opening of bridge: November 2019

Foundation laying: 2015

Start of work: 2017

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