Vivekananda Setu (Bengali: বিবেকানন্দ সেতু also called Willingdon Bridge and Bally Bridge) is a bridge over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India. It links the city of Howrah, at Bally, to its twin city of Kolkata, at Dakshineswar. Completed in December 1932, it is a multispan steel bridge and was built to provide road and rail link between the Calcutta Port and its hinterland. It is 2,887 feet (880 m) long.
The construction of bridge was done by famous Kutchi-Mistri contractor and Industrialist Rai Bahadur Jagmal Raja Chauhan. His nameplate can still be seen on each girder of the bridge. The construction of bridge started in year 1926 and was completed in year 1932. The fabrication of the bridge was done at works of Braithwate & Company, Calcutta. The Bally Bridge was named Willingdon Bridge after Viceroy of India, Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon, who inaugurated it. The first train that ran across the bridge was named Jagmal Raja Howrah Express by the British, acknowledging the feat of Rai Bahadur Jagmal Raja. It is said that bridge cost over 1 crore (US$160,000) in those years.
This bridge has recently handled a daily traffic of 24,000 vehicles.
Vivekananda Setu had become weak as a result of ageing, and with heavy traffic, even repairs became difficult. There was need for a second bridge. Nivedita Setu was constructed parallel to it and around 50 metres (165 ft) downstream. It was opened to traffic in 2007. The Vivekananda Setu allows traffic movement upstream (Bally to Kolkata) while the Nivedita Bridge helps downstream transport (from Kolkata to Bally).
An old picture of the Vivekananda Setu (Bally Bridge)
^ Minutes of proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, London 1934 : Willingdon Bridge & Rai Bahadur Jagamal Raja, Volume 235, Part 1, page 83.
^Nanji Bapa ni Nondh-pothi published in Gujarati in year 1999 from Vadodara. It is a diary of Railway Contracts done by KGK Community noted by Nanji Govindji Tank of Hajapar/Jamshedpur, complied by Dharsibhai Jethalal Tank of Nagalpar/Tatanagar. (This book was given Aank Sidhhi award by Kutch Shakti at Mumbai in year 2000) Rai Bahadur Jagmal Raja Chauhan of Nagor, Allahabad : Life-sketch & achievements : Willingdon Bridge started construction in 1926 completed in 1932