Dibrugarh, May 6: The country's longest rail-cum-road bridge of 4.94km over the river Brahmaputra in Assam is likely to be completed by 2015.
"The work is in full swing and the Bogibeel Bridge is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2015 despite the small window of time we get to work because of the climatic conditions," Ajit Pandit, chief engineer of the project, told a group of visiting journalists.
The bridge was sanctioned in 1997-98, and the foundation stone of the multi-crore project was laid by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on April 21, 2002.
Since then the railways have revised the estimated cost of the project from the initial Rs 1,767 crore to Rs 3,230 crore. Till now, a total of Rs 2,404 crore has been spent.
Work on the river can only be undertaken for four months, and this has led to delays. Another reason for the delay is the paucity of funds.
Pandit said, "The main constraint was the availability of the dry season as we get only four dry months from November 15 to March 15 and for the rest of the year, it rains here. It is difficult to construct piers in the river during rains."
During the initial phase, the project faced paucity of funds, but the allocation has improved since it was declared a national project in 2007.
"There was a fund shortage and the pace of the work gained momentum only after the project was declared a national project in 2007. The rise in the cost of cement and steel is also responsible for the cost escalation," he said.
The bridge will be double-decked, with the lower tier having two broad gauge railway tracks and the upper deck a three-lane road, with a sidewalk on either sides.