Traffic snarls on Mahatma Gandhi bridge in Patna

Patna, Aug 22 : Commuters in Patna and north Bihar have been facing traffic snarls due to congestion on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu (road bridge) for the last couple of days.

Amarkesh D, the traffic SP of Patna, told IANS that movement of heavy vehicles has more than doubled in the last few days, leading to congestion on the 5.75-km long bridge along the Ganga river connecting state capital Patna and Hajipur and further towards north Bihar. The situation has worsened due to lack of no-entry restrictions for heavy vehicles.

According to an estimate, nearly 2,500 to 3,000 heavy vehicles plied on this bridge daily and the number has now increased to 5,000 vehicles. Besides, a large number of cars, three-wheelers and bikes also use this road.

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“We have started the process of counting of vehicles from Saturday. It would give an idea of what is the actual number. Besides, we are also imposing hefty fines on violators responsible for overloading,” Amarkesh said.

Mahatma Gandhi Setu is one of the oldest and longest bridges in Bihar. Its construction started in 1972 and was it was opened to the public in 1982. The bridge has deteriorated in the last decade. The Bihar government has repaired the eastern side of the bridge and it is currently open for commuting.

“After the state government allowed heavy vehicles (more than six-wheel vehicles), there was some congestion on this bridge. We have deployed our traffic personnel to regulate vehicular movement manually. It is expected to be normal soon,” Amarkesh added.

“Vehicles laden with sand generally have a huge weight. In the last few days, traffic snarls occurred due to vehicles breaking down. The removal of such vehicles is not easy especially when the volume of traffic is high on this bridge,” Amarkesh said.

There is another road bridge, Jai Prakash Narayan Setu connecting Patna to Hajipur. It is 15 km away from Mahatma Gandhi Setu and heavy vehicles are not allowed on it.

—IANS
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