Digha–Sonpur Bridge

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Digha–Sonpur rail–road bridge (J.P. Bridge)
दीघा-सोनपुर रेल-सह-सड़क सेतु ( जेपी सेतु)
Digha–Sonpur Rail-cum-Road Bridge - Patna.jpg
Digha–Sonpur Rail-cum-Road Bridge - Patna
Coordinates 25°40′05″N 85°06′30″E / 25.6681°N 85.1083°E / 25.6681; 85.1083
Crosses Ganges
Locale DighaSonpur
Design K-truss bridge
Total length 4,556 metres (14,948 ft)
Width 10 metres (33 ft)
Longest span 123 metres (404 ft)
No. of spans 36
No. of lanes 2
Rail characteristics
No. of tracks 2
Construction start 2003
Construction end August 2015
Opened 3 February 2016[1]
Daily traffic 14 pair of trains

The Digha–Sonpur rail–road bridge (Hindi: दीघा-सोनपुर रेल-सह-सड़क सेतु) or J.P Setu (Hindi: जेपी सेतु)[2] is a bridge across river Ganga, connecting Digha Ghat in Patna and Pahleja Ghat in Sonpur, Saran district in the Indian state of Bihar.[3][4] The rail-cum-road bridge provides easy roadway and railway link between northern and southern parts of Bihar.[5] It is a steel girder bridge.[6] Regular scheduled passenger rail service was inaugurated on this route on 3 February 2016. This is second railway bridge in Bihar after Rajendra Setu that connects North Bihar to South Bihar.[7] Indian railways has constructed two railway stations on either sides of the bridge – Patliputra Junction railway station (PPTA) and Bharpura Pahleja Ghat Junction railway station (PHLG).

The project[edit]

Patliputra and Bharpura Pahleja Ghat station on both sides of bridge

Rajendra Setu was the only bridge that carried railway tracks across the Ganges in the state of Bihar till 3 February 2016. It was opened in 1959.[8][9][10]

On 22 December 1996, Former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda laid the foundation stone for the construction of the railway bridge over Ganga at Sonepur.[11][12] Ram Vilas Paswan was the railway minister at that time, but the physical work on the bridge began in 2003 when Nitish Kumar was the railway minister.[13][14] The Digha–Sonpur Ganga bridge was initially sanctioned as a rail bridge; the project was converted to a rail-cum-road bridge in 2006. Total cost of the project was put at 13,890 million, out of which 8,350 million was for the rail part, and 5,540 million was for the road part. It was expected to be completed in five years.[15] The construction work on the bridge was completed in August 2015,[16][17] and a trial run of a diesel locomotive was undertaken on the bridge in the same month.[18]

Ganga rail–road bridge project was executed by Ircon International and the bridge was completed at 1,570 crore (US$240 million).[19][20] The electrification work on the Patna-Sonepur-Hajipur Section was completed by July 2016.[21] The doubling of railway tracks on the bridge will be done at an estimated cost of Rs 156.09 crore and will be completed by October 2018.[22]

This bridge of 4,556 metres (14,948 ft) length is amongst the longest bridges in India.[23] The total length of construction, including approaches, would be 20 km.[24] It is a K-truss bridge.[25] There will be two rail tracks (up and down tracks) and a two lane road.

Construction of the bridge being completed, the inaugural commercial run on the rail bridge took place on 3 February 2016.[26] The Digha–Sonepur rail bridge was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 March 2016.[27] The second rail track is still to be laid. A new railway station is under construction 3 km north from Patliputra Junction, near Danapur Bankipur road (Digha Halt) and it will save time for rail passengers going to Gandhi Maidan at least 1 hour[28]. The road bridge was inaugurated on 11 June 2017.[29] Link roads to connect National Highways on both ends are still to be completed.


Digha–Sonpur Rail-Road Bridge - Patna

In 1996, survey work for the proposed bridge was initiated by the Railways at three possible sites – Digha–Sonepur, Gulzarbagh–Hajipur and Ict Ghat–Sonepur.[30] Ram Vilas Paswan was then the Union Railway Minister and he lent his support to the Gulzarbagh-Hajipur site, as Hajipur was the constituency from which he was elected. Lalu Prasad Yadav, then Chief Minister of Bihar, lent his support to the Digha–Sonepur site. In the wake of the conflicting support of the political heavy weights, disturbances broke out at Sonepur. One person was shot dead.[31] Many experts opined in favour of building the rail bridge adjacent to the Mahatma Gandhi Setu, the road bridge connecting Hajipur with Patna. However, political opinion prevailed and the Digha–Sonepur site was selected. Rs. 24 million was spent on the survey alone.[32] The proposal to construct the bridge was mentioned in the union budget of 1997-98 and at that time the estimated cost was Rs 600 crores. The bridge was finally sanctioned during the term as Union Railway Minister of Nitish Kumar, present Chief Minister of Bihar.[23] The scope of work was expanded when Lalu Prasad Yadav was the Union Railway Minister.


Digha–Sonpur Rail-Road Bridge after Completion

Regularly scheduled passenger service was inaugurated on this route on 3 February 2016. Initially, six services will utilize the bridge connecting Patna with North Bihar and parts of Uttar Pradesh. Diesel Multiple Unit trains from Patliputra Junction to Barauni Junction via Sonepur, Hajipur, Shahpur Patori, to Gorakhpur Junction via Chhapra, Siwan, Thawe and Kaptanganj, and to Gorakhpur Junction via Hajipur, Muzaffarpur, Raxaul and Narkatiaganj are among the initial services.[33][34]

In the future, certain long-distance Patna-bound trains are expected to shift to this northerly route easing the burden on the heavily congested Mughalsarai-Patna rail line.[35]


In May 2016, Roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO) service was introduced from Bihta (private freight terminal) to Turki station in Muzaffarpur district covering a distance of 88 km through the Digha–Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge.[36][37] This is second such service in India. Before this, Railways started RoRo services in the Konkan region. The railway wagons ferry loaded trucks to their destination.[38] This is started by Railways to attract more loadings, reduce carbon emission and reduce load on Mahatma Gandhi Setu.[39] Approximately 44 loaded or empty trucks move in a rake and one rake do three trips a day. Ferrying of trucks weighing 15 MT (metric tonnes) cost 4,107 (US$64) and of empty trucks of average 6 MT (metric tonnes) weight 2,806 (US$44). Similarly, trucks weighing over 15 MT are charged Rs 200 more for every tonne over 15MT. The maximum weight allowed is 66 MT. From July 3 onwards, starting destination is changed to Danapur instead of Bihita.[40]

Bridges across the Ganges in Bihar[edit]

Digha–Sonpur Rail-cum-Road Bridge

The Ganges divides the state of Bihar in two parts. The mighty river makes communication between the two parts a difficult task.

  • The first effort to bridge the gap was Rajendra Setu in 1959.[8][9]
  • The next bridge across the Ganges in Bihar was the 5,575 metres (18,291 ft) Mahatma Gandhi Setu, the longest bridge in India at the time of its commissioning in 1982.[41]
  • It was followed by Vikramshila Setu near Bhagalpur.[42]
  • The fourth bridge across the Ganges in the state is the Digha–Sonpur rail–road bridge.
  • The Munger Ganga Bridge was formally opened for passenger trains on 11 April 2016.[43] The road on the bridge is complete, too, but approach roads on both ends are not even in initial stage due to lack of land acquisition.
  • A fourth rail bridge over Ganga has been sanctioned at Bikramshila–Kataria with 18 km new rail line between Pirpainti and Naugachhia at cost of rupees 1601 Crore taking in consideration for access to north Bihar from Jharkhand by Jasidih Pirpainti new rail line under construction.[44]
  • Construction work of a double-track rail bridge, 25 meters upstream from present Rajendra Pul was inaugurated on 12 March 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating Patna Lucknow Intercity express.[45][46]
  • A 5.575-kilometre-long (3.464 mi) bridge Bakhtiyarpur-Tajpur Bridge is under construction which will connect Bakhtiyarpur and Tajpur.[47]
  • Another 6-lane road bridge is already under construction at Patna connecting Kachchi Dargah in Patna and Bidupur in Vaishali.[48]
  • The Arrah–Chhapra Bridge across the Ganges is complete, which connects Arrah and Chhapra and opened to traffic on 11 June 2017.[49]
  • A road bridge parallel to the existing rail and road bridge, Rajendra Setu, has also been planned.[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Express-train cheer for rail bridge". 
  2. ^ "Bridge opening boon for north Bihar link". 
  3. ^ "Million dreams". 
  4. ^ "Ganga bridge bonanza New projects to ease travel hassle". 
  5. ^ "Land bids put bridges in troubled waters Four new bridges being constructed over the Ganga in different locations across Bihar have missed their deadlines for completion. The existing bridges are dilapidated, adding to the woes". 
  6. ^ "Girder erection and deck casting work has been completed on 45 spans of the bridge in a record time". 
  7. ^ "Digha bridge: Only 10% rly track work remains incomplete". 
  8. ^ a b "Rlys begins bridge renovation work". Times of India, Patna, 12 July 2010. 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  9. ^ a b "Indian railways history (after independence)". Indian Railways. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  10. ^ "Indian Railways' Forgotten Frontier – Tribals Travel on Rooftops". Again in Bihar: 930 crore and 625 crore rail cum road bridges. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  11. ^ "Digha-Sonepur rail bridge has an eventful past". 
  12. ^ "Foundation stone for Bihar bridge laid again, for Lalu’s benefit". 
  13. ^ "18-year wait 1996-2016". 
  14. ^ "Ramvilas Paswan had got foundation laying of the rail-cum road bridge from Digha to Sonepur by the then Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda without arranging fund for it". 
  15. ^ "Enlargement of rail bridge over Ganga near Patna approved by CCEA". one india news. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  16. ^ "'Digha-Sonepur bridge to be inaugurated soon Aug 6,2015'". 
  17. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Rlys-may-miss-deadline-to-open-Digha-bridge/articleshow/48059823.cms
  18. ^ "Loco makes smooth trial run on Digha-Sonepur bridge Aug 8,2015". 
  19. ^ "Ircon executes landmarkrailway projects in Bihar". 
  20. ^ "Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to open 2 mega bridges on Pul Nigam day". 
  21. ^ "Express-train cheer for Digha rail bridge". The Telegraph. 4 July 2016. 
  22. ^ "Double track boon for bridge More trains between Patna & north". 
  23. ^ a b "‘Rail bridge over Ganga would be nation’s pride’". Chennai, India: The Hindu, 13 October 2009. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  24. ^ "Trains in India". PPPNOW.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  25. ^ "Ganga River Railroad Bridge at Patna". Structurae. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  26. ^ "Trains run on Ganga bridge, end 18-year-long wait". 
  27. ^ "NaMo flags off train to Lucknow". 
  28. ^ https://www.telegraphindia.com/1161015/jsp/bihar/story_113479.jsp#.WAkdbuV97IV
  29. ^ "New bridges over Ganga reduce distance in Bihar". 
  30. ^ "Digha-Pahleja rail bridge gets go-ahead". 
  31. ^ "दीघा-सोनपुर रेल पुल को लेकर शहीद का मना शहादत दिवस". 
  32. ^ "Digha–Sonepur rail bridge has an eventful past". Times of India, 2 February 2002. 2002-02-02. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  33. ^ Kumod Verma (February 2, 2016). "Train to run on Digha–Sonepur bridge today". Times of India. 
  34. ^ Kumod Verma and HK Verma (February 3, 2016). "Trains run on Ganga bridge, end 18-year-long wait". Times of India. 
  35. ^ H K Verma (22 December 2015). "Saran residents await opening of Digha bridge". Times of India. 
  36. ^ "Railway kicks roll on off". 
  37. ^ "ट्रेन पर सवार होकर गंगा पार गए ट्रक, रेलवे की हुई कमाई". 
  38. ^ "Trains to ferry trucks, take load off Setu". 
  39. ^ http://www.financialexpress.com/economy/indian-railways-launch-ro-ro-service-to-attract-more-loadings/265851/
  40. ^ "ECR changes destination of ‘roll on-roll off’ to Danapur". 
  41. ^ "Mahatma Gandhi Setu the Longest River Bridge in India". General Knowledge Quiz. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  42. ^ "Vikramshila Setu". Bhagalpur, Land of Art, Culture and Education. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  43. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Minister-flags-off-passenger-train-between-Begusarai-and-Jamalpur/articleshow/51784275.cms
  44. ^ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bihar-gets-allocation-of-rs-3171-crore-in-rail-budget/1/605456.html
  45. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-pm-modi-inaugurates-three-major-railway-projects-worth-rs-7000-crore-in-bihar-2188606
  46. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/New-Mokama-rail-bridge-likely-to-be-completed-in-4-yrs/articleshow/51385623.cms
  47. ^ "Nitish inaugurates construction of Ganga bridge connecting Bakhtiyarpur – Tajpur: bridge to open in 2015". Bihar Days. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  48. ^ http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150824/jsp/bihar/story_38745.jsp#.VxDW_TB95dg
  49. ^ Singh, Rakesh K. (2010-12-30). "Ganga link to connect Ara & Chhapra". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph, 30 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  50. ^ "Four-lane connector over Sone, Ganga". Calcutta, India: The Telegraph, 8 April 2011. 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 

External links[edit]

External video
Digha–Sonpur bridge construction, Patna