The demolition of the 57-year old Tallah Bridge is likely to begin from the first week of February and the state government wants to complete it within two and half months. Soon after the demolition, work would be started for constructing the new bridge. If things go as planned the construction of the new bridge would start from mid April and work would be completed within one and a half years.
Both the state government and Eastern Railway have given approval for razing the structure which has been declared as “most vulnerable” and movement of heavy vehicles has been restricted on it. According to sources, the demolition would begin from the Shyambazar side of the bridge.
“We want to complete the entire process of demolition within 75 days so that work can be started for constructing the new structure,” said an official. Both state PWD and the Railways would jointly carry out the dismantling work. Again, a tender has been floated for constructing the new bridge which will be a four lane cable-stayed one and a total of Rs 268 crore would be spent for constructing it.
The agency for constructing the bridge would be selected through open bidding and it will be responsible for maintaining it for 10 years after completion. Meanwhile, a level crossing will be constructed on the tracks under the arterial Tallah Bridge. The state government has already given around Rs 14 crore to Eastern Railway to construct it as it would enable movement of heavy vehicles after the bridge is dismantled.
But the Railways is yet to begin work though sources said that the work for constructing the level crossing is likely to begin in a day or two. Earlier, a task force, comprising two officials from Railways namely the chief bridge engineer and senior divisional engineer of Sealdah and two officials of the state government was formed for the project.
Tallah Bridge which connects the city to North 24-Parganas, was scheduled to be dismantled from 4 January but work could not be started as the level crossing was not constructed. Last October, a private agency from Mumbai and experts from consultancy firm RITES had thoroughly examined the bridge and submitted a report to the state secretariat, opining that the condition of the bridge was very critical. They suggested to dismantle the bridge and build a new one in its place. As of now, vehicles weighing over three tonnes are banned on the bridge.