A new bridge, in the works for the last two years to connect Bokaro steel city with Chas township, has hit yet another roadblock for want of a separate approach, an obvious requirement that seems to have been overlooked by planners.
Hindustan Steel Construction Limited (HSCL), the contractor building the bridge, has sent repeated SOS messages to state road secretary Rajbala Verma to explain the necessity of building a new road to connect the region's only crematorium that is now in the way of the bridge on the Chas side on NH-23.
To compound problems, more than 40 feet of highway authority land had been encroached upon by several commercial and residential buildings near the southern side of the bridge.
At a high-level meeting on January 28, highway authority officials were in the firing line of senior officials of the district administration when HSCL blamed them for delaying the bridge as crucial plans of super structure and pier caps were not handed over on time.
According to sources, Bokaro deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar reprimanded highway authority engineers for not providing the maps and also asked his officials to demarcate the encroachments so that work on approach roads could begin soon.
Kumar also directed Chas SDO Sanjay Singh to speed up removal of the encroachments.
HSCL was also directed to complete the concrete work of six slabs and girders, designs for which were submitted to it in June last year. While work on two slabs had been competed, the remaining four would have to be made ready by June 2013.
At present, Bokaro and Chas township is linked by an old, dilapidated, single-lane bridge on NH-23. The bridge, declared dangerous in 2002, is 7-metre wide and 80-metre long capable of withstanding a load of anything between 20 tonne to 40 tonne.
The proposed bridge on the other hand will be 11-metre wide and 102-metre long with a load-handling capacity between 150 tonne to 300 tonne .
The delay in construction has led to an inevitable cost escalation. The new bridge, which was to be constructed within Rs 3.58 crore, will now cost Rs 5.08 crore.
Deputy commissioner Kumar said he had asked HSCL and highway authority officials to sort out all pending issues on a war footing. "Any further delay in completing the bridge and approach road will not be tolerated," he warned the officials.