Dibrugarh, Assam: The cost for constructing girders of India's longest rail-cum-road bridge at Bogibeel over Brahmaputra in Assam, by a Hindustan Construction Company-led consortium, is likely to escalate by over Rs 300 crore, mainly due to expansion and delay of the project.
"The joint venture received the contract for Rs 987 crore in November 2011 to construct 36 spans or girders. Now the design has been modified with requirement of 41 spans... The total cost to construct the entire superstructure will now be around Rs 1,300 crore," HCC project in-charge (Bogibeel Bridge) Santosh Kumar Misra said.
Hindustan Construction Company owns a 51 per cent stake in the JV, whereas Germany-based DSD Brouckenbau has 20 per cent and VNR Infrastructure has 29 per cent.
The 42 sub-structures or the piers of the massive bridge are being constructed by Gammon India, which is also alleged to be carrying out the work at a slow pace.
"The earlier timeline given to us for opening the entire project to public was November 2015, but it has been delayed due to various factors. Now we will complete our work by December 2016 and the bridge will be opened for public by June 2017," Mr Misra said.
The Northeast Frontier Railway project, which was first initiated during the tenure of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda in 1997, has missed several deadlines of completion since then.
Mr Misra said the starting of construction work got delayed by almost a year after receiving the contract as heavy rains affected setting up of the basic infrastructure to build the bridge at the site.
"The first span was launched in April 2014 and so far we have rolled out 10 units on the river. Another 10 spans are being prepared to launch by this month. We are now planning to deliver two spans every month," he added.
To expedite the work further, HCC is planning to add 150-200 more workers to its current strength of around 2,500 people at the southern bank of Brahmaputra, Mr Misra said.
The 4.94 km Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge will be the longest one in the country having the twin mode of transportation.
Currently, the 5.6 km long Bandra-Worli sea link, also constructed by HCC, is the longest bridge but offering only road network in Mumbai.
The total cost of Bogibeel project has escalated drastically over the years and is now likely to touch Rs 5,000 crore, which will take into account the main bridge, dykes on the north and south banks, road network of 30 km, rail track of 74 km and six new railway stations among others.
HCC claimed that a total of 70,000 MT of steel will be used for completing the superstructure, which will be equivalent to 10 Eiffel Towers.
Being a fully-welded bridge, the total length of welding to be carried out is about 12,800 km.
The Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge will be double-decked having two railway tracks on lower level and a three-lane road on the upper deck flanked by footpaths on each side.
It is located around 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh town and will connect the NH-37 on south bank with NH-52 on north side.
Due to its location, the bridge will be of strategic importance to India as it will significantly enhance the ability to transport troops and supplies to the international border with China in Arunachal Pradesh.