Although the existing bridge across the Godavari in Bhadrachalam town completed 55 years on Monday much to the delight of denizens of the temple town, the long awaited relief from the frequent traffic snarls on the narrow bridge continues to elude them.
The bridge was opened by the then President of India S Radhakrishnan on July 13, 1965.
Since then, it has been serving as a lifeline for the vast tribal hinterland spanning large swathes of forest fringe areas in Bhadrachalam Agency and the neighbouring States.
To address the recurring problem of traffic congestion on the decades old bridge, a new bridge was sanctioned at an estimated cost of ₹98.45 crore nearly six years ago.
Construction of the new bridge of 1.20 km length and 12 metre width began parallel to the existing bridge across the Godavari in 2015.
Work on the bridge came to a standstill in March this year apparently under the impact of the coronavirus crisis after completion of nearly 70 % of the works of the major components of the project, sources said.
The executing agency has missed several deadlines for completion of the new bridge much to the disappointment of residents of the temple town and other road users.
The suspension of works on the new bridge midway by the firm tasked with its construction citing the pandemic induced crisis is highly deplorable, flayed Raju, a resident of bridge centre in Bhadrachalam.
Hundreds of heavy trucks and other vehicles pass through the vital inter-State road link causing frequent traffic snarls at the narrow stretch of the existing bridge, he pointed out.
It is imperative to complete the new bridge on a mission mode to reduce traffic congestion in the historic temple town of Bhadrachalam, said Bhadrachala Prantha Parirakshana Committee chairman B Shankar Reddy.
The new bridge under construction forms a crucial link of the National Highway-30 (Old NH 221), he noted, underscoring the urgent need for its speedy completion to improve the inter-State road connectivity.