Guwahati: Finally a big sigh of relief for the Guwahatians, as the old Saraighat Bridge (rail-cum-road) bridge was formally reopened for traffic by the general manager of Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) today at around 3:30 p.m.
As per an official release by the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR), the work in the bridge had progressed without any hurdles with the continuous cooperation of the people and civil administration.
The officials also mentioned that the repair work on the upper deck (road portion) of the rail-cum-road bridge has been completed and we have managed to reopen the historical bridge within the stipulated time period.
Over 500 workers were engaged in carrying out the task of replacing all the 54 slabs on the entire upper deck, along with replacement of 11 expansion joints over the pillars.
As per the NFR, the 54 slabs on the entire upper deck, along with replacement of 11 expansion joints over the pillars were badly damaged and methods adopted to replace them involve breaking down the concrete slabs and removing the expansion joints.
It is interesting to know the fact that, on average, 75 workers per day were engaged in breaking the slabs and 45 workers per day were engaged in carrying these broken pieces away and cleaning.
The repair and replacement of the upper deck slabs of the bridge are particularly difficult because of the fact that train movement on the lower deck was still going on without any disruption.
It is to be mentioned that Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also directed the NFR officials to complete the repairing work within June 20. He visited for the inspection of the bridge on April 29.
It may be mentioned that the old Saraighat Bridge was closed in March 2019 for 90 days to carry out “massive” repair work.
The Bridge connects two shores of the Brahmaputra at Assam’s commercial hub Guwahati and is the first rail-cum-road bridge built in the region.
The bridge was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and was officially named the ‘Battle of Saraighat’ after the famous war fought in 1671.