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, Bihar, India
Official nameMahatma Gandhi Setu
Other name(s)Ganga Setu
Named forMahatma Gandhi
Maintained byNational Highways Authority of India
DesignGirder bridge
MaterialConcrete and steel
Total length5.75 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 in Bihar, India, connecting Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north.[3] Its length is 5,750 metres (18,860 ft)[4] and it is the third-longest river bridge in India.[5][6] It was inaugurated in May 1982 in a ceremony in Hajipur by the then prime minister, Indira Gandhi.

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. The total expenditure was 87.22 crore (872.2 million rupees). It was built to connect North Bihar with the rest of Bihar through the state's capital at Patna, and as part of national highway 19 (NH19). Before this bridge was constructed, the only bridge crossing of the Ganges in Bihar was Rajendra Setu, approximately 75 kilometres (47 mi) to the east, which had opened in 1959. 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, "Landmark Bridges Of India: Mahatma Gandhi Setu", on 17 August 2007.[9]


The bridge consists of 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-metre-wide (25 ft) two-lane roadway for IRC[expand acronym] class 70 R loading with footpaths on either side.[11] The cantilever segmental construction method was adopted; 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 6 metres (20 ft). These lanes are free from each other with no connections. It was constructed using 3-metre (9.8 ft) pre-cast parts, which were joined at both ends to complete the span. The spans are connected with a protrusion which is free to move longitudinally. Vertical movement allows for vibrations from vehicular movement to transfer smoothly between spans without much discreteness.[12]

Traffic congestion[edit]

In recent decades, the bridge has experienced major traffic chaos due to the increasing number of vehicles crossing it, operating in excess of capacity and overloading the structure. The Bihar government has planned to build two pontoon bridges parallel to it, in order to relieve these problems.[13][needs update] The bridge is crossed daily by over 85,000 vehicles and 12,000 pedestrians.[citation needed]


  • Construction started: Year 1972
  • Scheduled opening: June 1978.
  • Tender cost: Rs 23.50 crore
  • 1st Extension of Time (EOT): June 1980
  • 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 1979 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 1981
  • Project progress: 80% ( physical ) up to September 1980
  • 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 1982 ( Eastern carriageway ) Completion date: April 1987 ( Western carriageway ) Total cost: 87 crores Minister of State for Public Works: Raghunath Jha Chief Minister: Jagannath Mishra

Structural integrity and failure[edit]

The bridge has often been subjected to structural loads and moving loads exceeding its design. Major repairs were initiated on it within five years of its completion. Poor maintenance, coupled with wear and tear caused by the unprecedented surge in traffic, has made the structure vulnerable. Other bridges in India which were built with the same cantilever design have developed cracks.

Investigations into the fissures developed in the bridge revealed the following defects: 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.

Mahatma Gandhi Setu is now being dismantled.[when?] It may have happened that due to such inferior quality of reinforcement coupled with inferior concrete have been causes for such catastrophic failure.[citation needed] 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 lost. 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.[citation needed] Now it is becoming clear that there were faults in all the departments, be it design or construction or supervision or material deficiency.[citation needed]


  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 18 September 2014.
  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]