RAYAGADA: Construction of Gumuda bridge over river Bansadhara would be completed by the end of May, said Secretary in the Works department Nalinikanta Pradhan here on Sunday.
Pradhan visited the construction site with a team of experts and directed the Executive Engineer of Public Works Department (PWD) and the construction agency, ARSS, to complete the bridge work on a war-footing.
The bridge, which was first constructed in 1980, is a major route of communication on Bhubaneswar-Koraput State Highway via Berhampur.
After it got washed away in the flash floods in August 2007, a tender for a new bridge was floated in 2009 at an estimated cost of Rs 26 crore. Work on the 720 metre-long bridge work was entrusted to ARSS, which started it in 2010 with an assurance to complete it by 2012. As the construction was in progress, it was found that excess stone deposits hindered the progress of work. Construction of 247 piles was needed instead of 126 as mentioned in the agreement. Following the redesign, ARSS sought extension of time for completion. The cost of the bridge also escalated to about Rs 45 crore.
The deadline was June 2015 but some technical problems and natural calamities delayed the work again and the construction company sought extension by another year.
Once completed, the bridge will reduce the distance between Rayagada and Berhampur by 35 km. People of the two places now travel 242 km through alternative routes to reach their destination.
Adding to the trouble of the people is the fact that most of the buses have stopped plying on the route because of the additional distance.
About 40,000 people of villages in Ramanaguda, Padmapur and Gudari blocks depend on the bridge, which is part of the Vijayawada-Ranchi Corridor.
PWD Executive Engineer Gauranga Charan Sahu said construction of 16 spans of the bridge has been completed. The approach roads, which are about 400 metres each, will be completed by May-end, he added.
The Secretary, along with Chief Engineer of Roads and Buildings, Om Prakash Patel, reviewed a stretch of 52 km Vijayawada-Ranchi corridor from Tandikona Chowk to Raipanka during the visit.
The construction agency has been asked to complete the work by June 2016, failing which the agency will be penalised.