Asia's longest bridge set to open

Asia's longest bridge across the Brahmaputra, which will reduce travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by four hours, will be opened for public on May 26, coinciding with the Modi government's three years in power. The Dhola-Sadiya bridge, capable of withstanding the weight of a 60-tonne battle tank, will serve the dual purpose of improving movement of civilian and military vehicles to strategic locations up to Anini in Arunachal Pradesh.Anini is barely 100 km from the China border.

While the inauguration of the 9.15 km bridge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before the monsoon is being seen as a big gift to the people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, who either take long detours to cross the river or spend over four hours to cross the mighty Bramhaputra by ferry, it has huge strategic importance as well.

At present, there is no bridge fortified for the passage of tanks around Tinsukia from where troops can cross over to Arunachal Pradesh. Moreover, it will cut time for the armed forces to reach the border in Dibang and Anjaw via Tezpur, which takes two days (about 186 km from Guwahati) now.

The two-lane bridge has been built with a design speed of 100 kmph for fast movement in case of emergency, such as troop movements.

Road ministry sources said the bridge connectivity is also important as Arunachal Pradesh does not have a single operational airport and with China building air strips on its side of the line of actual control, it will come as a shot in the arm for the military . They added that the work of widening the existing national highway stretch between Meka and Anini (NH-13) is being widened to two lanes. Highways minister Nitin Gadkari had brought this stretch and four others in Arunachal Pardesh under the NH network soon after the Modi government came to power.

The construction of the bridge began in June 2011 at a project cost of Rs.950 crore.The aerial distance to the Chinese border is less than 100 km. 

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