Mahatma Gandhi Setu

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Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna
Gandhi Setu Bridge at Patna.jpg
Coordinates25°37′19.0″N 85°12′25.7″E / 25.621944°N 85.207139°E / 25.621944; 85.207139Coordinates: 25°37′19.0″N 85°12′25.7″E / 25.621944°N 85.207139°E / 25.621944; 85.207139
CarriesNational Highway 22 and National Highway 31[1]
LocalePatna - Hajipur
Official nameMahatma Gandhi Setu
Other name(s)Ganga Setu
Named forMahatma Gandhi
Maintained byNational Highways Authority of India
DesignGirder bridge
MaterialConcrete and steel
Total length05.75 km (3.57 mi)
Width25 m (82 ft)
No. of spans45
DesignerGammon India
Constructed byGammon India Limited
Construction start1972
Construction end1982
OpenedMay 1982
TollNo (revoked)[2]

Mahatma Gandhi Setu (also called Gandhi Setu or Ganga Setu) is a bridge over the river Ganges connecting Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north of Bihar.[3] Its length is 5,750 metres (18,860 ft)[4] and it is the second longest river bridge in India.[5][6] It was inaugurated in May 1982 by the then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi. The inauguration took place at north end of the bridge located in Hajipur viewed by thousands of people.

Planning and Significance[edit]

Gandhi Setu Bridge in Patna, India

The bridge was approved by the Central Government in 1969 and built by Gammon India Limited over a period of ten years, from 1972 to 1982 with total expenditure of Rs 87.22 crore at that time. It was built to connect North Bihar with the rest of Bihar and part of national highway 19 (NH19). Before this bridge was constructed, Rajendra Setu, opened in 1959, was the only link to North Bihar. Since then, the Vikramshila Setu has also been built across the Ganges. Two more rail-cum-road bridges are currently under construction, between Digha and Sonepur[7] and at Munger.[8]

The Indian postal department issued a commemorative postage stamp on Landmark Bridges Of India: Mahatma Gandhi Setu of denomination 0500 Paise on 17 August 2007.[9]

Engineering Details[edit]

The bridge consists 45 intermediate spans of 121.065 metres (397.19 ft) each and a span of 65.530 metres (214.99 ft) at each end.[10] The deck provides for a 7.5 metres (25 ft) wide two-lane roadway for IRC class 70 R loading with footpaths on either side.[11] The cantilever segmental construction method was adopted to construct this mega bridge. Each span has two cantilever beams on both sides which are free to move at the ends. It has two lanes one upstream and the other downstream each with a width of around 6m. Both the lanes are also free from each other and are not connected anywhere. It was constructed by using 3-meter pre-cast parts being joined at both ends to complete the span. The Spans are connected by using a Protrusion which is free to move longitudinally also along the river flow. In upwards and downwards direction it is such that it allows vibration to transfer smoothly to the next span while vehicular movement without much discreteness.[12] The building of the bridge cost over $180,000

Traffic Congestion[edit]

In recent times, the bridge has been witnessing major traffic chaos and accidents due to exceeding number of vehicles passing over it and regularly overloading the structure. Bihar Government is planning to build two Pontoon bridges in parallel to it, in order to ease traffic.[13] Over 85,000 vehicles pass through Gandhi Setu along with 12,000 pedestrians daily.

Basic History[edit]

  • Construction started: Year 1972
  • Scheduled opening: June '78.
  • Tender cost: Rs 23.50 crore
  • 1st Extension of Time (EOT): June '80
  • Allocated cost: Rs 46.67 crore
  • Reasons for cost increase: This extra cost is the outcome of an "in-built" cost escalation clause in the contract
  • Reasons for delay: Heavy storm in April '79 destroyed two gantries and casting beds. Each gantry crane weighs 300 tonnes. Huge shortage of cement and building material and a workers' strike
  • Reports: Cement and other building materials stored for this project find their way into Nepal and parts of Bihar

from the northern side of the bridge.

  • 2nd Extension of Time (EOT): December '81
  • Project progress: 80% ( physical ) up to September '80
  • Billed value: Rs 41 crore
  • Contractor’s extra claim : Rs 50 crore

Litigation & arbitration: Disagreement between the contractors and the Government overpayments stalled construction activity. Claims and bills got referred to the Law Department. Final completion date: June '82 ( Eastern carriageway ) Completion date: April '87 ( Western carriageway ) Total cost: 87 crores Minister of State for Public Works: Raghunath Jha Chief Minister: Jagannath Mishra

Structural integrity and failure[edit]

It is not designed for so much loading. It started major repairs within 5 years of its completion Providing central hinge bearing, poor maintenance, coupled with wear and tear caused by the unprecedented surge in traffic, made the structure vulnerable. Other bridges across the country built with the same design in cantilever technology but with slight variations have also developed cracks.

Investigations into the fissures developed in the segmental box revealed hammering at the hinges when vehicles plied; finger-type expansion joints in an advanced state of distress; wearing coat cracks; spilling of concrete at transverse joints; longitudinal cracks in precast segments; leakage of water inside the box girder from joints between segments and from holes provided for lifting the segments.

Gandhi Setu is now being dismantled. It may have happened that due to such inferior quality of reinforcement coupled with inferior concrete have been causes for such catastrophic failure. Stressed cables are not grouted at all. They are acting like de-bonded tendons. There is minimal stress left. That is why external pre-stressing made later could not make up the stresses losss. Even cables do not conform to the As-Built drawings submitted. All As-Built drawings say how improper the design was. Providing central hinge bearing may not have given so much of adverse effect as the problems cited above. Now it is becoming clear that there were faults in all the departments, be it design or construction or supervision or material deficiency. Needless to say, these are the reasons behind the dilapidated conditions of the bridge now.


  1. ^ "Rationalisation of Numbering Systems of National Highways" (PDF). New Delhi: Department of Road Transport and Highways. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  2. ^ Madhuri Kumar (26 September 2012). "Traffic eases on Gandhi Setu as Centre drops toll collection". Patna: The Times of India. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Destinations :: Patna". Archived from the original on 2014-09-18.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Gandhi Setu: An engineering marvel".
  6. ^ longest river bridge to be rebuilt Archived 29 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Digha Sonepur Rail Road Bridge to be operational by 2017". Archived from the original on 6 July 2013.
  8. ^ Ganga Rail-Road Bridge
  9. ^ Welcome to the Indiapost Web Site Archived 13 February 2011 at WebCite
  10. ^ "Gandhi Setu: An engineering marvel".
  11. ^ Gammon India Ltd. - Builders to the nation Archived 13 February 2011 at WebCite
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Govt planning to build 2 Pontoon Bridges parallel to Gandhi Setu in Patna". IANS. Archived from the original on 7 May 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014.

See also[edit]