ROURKELA: To ease traffic congestion on the existing bridge, a three-lane portion of the new Brahmani bridge on National Highway (NH)-143 at Rourkela is likely to be opened for light motor vehicles (LMVs) by July 1. Reviewing the progress of works at the project site on May 14, Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra announced that a three-lane bridge would be opened for commuters by May. The other parallel three-lane bridge will be completed by June.
A senior official of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said work is being carried out on war footing and LMVs will be allowed on one portion of the bridge by July 1. Subsequently, heavy vehicles would be allowed.
However, sources said the partial opening of the bridge would be of little help to ease congestion on NH-143 as only one three-lane road over the bridge (ROB) is in use at the TCI roundabout while a flyover is under construction, thereby choking the smooth flow of traffic. The NHAI official said smooth traffic flow would be ensured on the stretch with help of local police.
NHAI sources said a target has been set to complete the second three-lane ROB at the TCI roundabout by August. Fabrication of the main steel girders is underway and further progress of work depends on the South Eastern Railway (SER) which has to shut down the busy Howrah-Mumbai main line for some hours to allow the NHAI contractor to fix the girders.
Official sources said the ongoing project to upgrade the 88 km stretch of NH-143 with four lanes from Birmitrapur to Rajamunda via Rourkela would take at least seven months for completion.
On the other hand, the pace of work continues to be slow on the flyover at Vedvyas which is the meeting place of NH-143 and the busy State Highway-10. Similarly, the progress of two elephant underpasses near Chamjharan and Chandiposh is also moving at a snail’s pace. Between Birmitrapur and Rajamunda, multiple patches on NH-143 still remain incomplete.
After Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone on July 21 2017, the NH-143 upgradation project from Birmitrapur to Barkote (125 km) was to be completed in 36 months. While upgradation of the 37 km stretch from Rajamunda to Barkote has now been abandoned for financial issues of the contractor, the remaining stretch has missed several deadlines.