Rajahmundry: Vehicular traffic on the newly built four-lane road bridge across Godavari river connecting Diwan Cheruvu to Kovvur villages in Godavari districts is not on expected lines. The bridge builder, Gammon India, has started collection of toll by setting up a Toll Plaza towards Kovvur side from November 1.
On an average, the builder is able to collect toll worth about Rs 10 lakh to Rs 12 lakh per day as against the expectation of Rs 20 lakh. One of the reasons attributed for poor patronage is said to be the narrow two-lane road from Gundugolanu to Kovvur stretching to a length of about 60 km distance.
People travelling between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam and vice versa are expected to save time and fuel as the distance is reduced by about 40 km if they take four-lane bridge instead of the circuitous route.
However, some vehicles are unable to use the new bridge due to the narrow road connecting the bridge from Gundugolanu.
The Road Development Corporation (RDC) authorities say that service roads connecting the approach roads are yet to be completed and installation of lights on the bridge is also yet to be completed. They say that the builder has been given three months time, to complete all the pending works to make the bridge fully operational.
RDC executive engineer K. John Sudhakar said, “A large number of people travelling between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam and beyond are using the new bridge as it saves time to reach their destination.
However, drivers of some multi-axle trucks prefer the old route due to narrow stretch of road from Gundugolanu to Kovvur.
The R and B authorities say that a proposal to develop the two-lane road between Gundugolanu and Kovvur to six-lanes is under active consideration of the government and in fact, there are proposals to hand over the task to the National Highway Authority of India to take up its development soon.
West Godavari R and B superintending engineer R. Srimannarayana confirmed that the proposal to develop the two-lane into six-lane between Gundugolanu to Kovvur will materialise very soon.
Meanwhile, the bridge is to be officially inaugurated and also to be named. Rajahmundry MP M. Murali Mohan said, “I have taken up the issue of giving a suitable name to the bridge to the notice of the Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu recently and he assured to look into it.”
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