Wait continues for new rly bridge

Wait continues for new rly bridge

The Northern Railway had proposed an alternative railway bridge parallel to the 150-year-old road-cum-rail iron bridge a decade ago, to ensure seamless movement of trains on Old Delhi station – Shahadra rail route. However, the bridge is still miles away from completion.

On Wednesday, the Northern Railway officers said the construction work got delayed due to some unavoidable circumstances and they have set March 2017 as the new deadline for its completion.

“The construction work got delayed due to objections from the Archaeological survey of India (ASI). The railway has now got all the clearance from the National Monument Authority (NMA). Fresh tenders for the project will be issued next month.

The bridge is likely to be completed by March 2017,” said Northern Railway spokesperson, Neeraj Sharma.

The iron rail bridge connecting Shahdara to the Old Delhi railway station is more than 150 years old. While sanctioning the project a decade ago, the railway argued that since the iron bridge was no more structurally sound, it had to be replaced with a new bridge to maintain seamless connectivity of all the east-bound trains from the Old Delhi railway station.

The construction work of the new bridge was started in 2003. Around 9-10 pillars of the bridge half-submerged in Yamuna are a testimony to it.

However, the work was stalled in 2007 when the ASI raised a red flag against construction as it involved demolition of a portion of the historic Salimgarh Fort in vicinity of Red Fort. 

The NMA, in June 2012, gave green signal to the project after the railway decided to change the alignment of the bridge.

However, the officers failed to give a satisfactory answer as to why the construction department failed to restart work, despite getting the clearance from the heritage body around a year ago.

Around 200 passenger trains and goods trains use the bridge daily. With the construction of the new bridge getting delayed, the project cost, which is currently pegged at around Rs 130 crore, is also likely to escalate.

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