Delve Into The Architectural Wonders! The Bridges On River Hooghly !

The Hooghly River (Hoogli or Hugli) or the Bhāgirathi-Hooghly, traditionally called ‘Ganga’, and also called Kati-Ganga, is an approximately 260-kilometre-long distributary of the Ganges River in West Bengal, India.

The Bhāgirathi-Hooghly river system is an essential lifeline for the people of West Bengal. It was through this river that the East India company sailed into Bengal and established their trade settlement, Calcutta, the capital of British India. People from other countries such as the French, Dutch, Portuguese, etc. all had their trade settlements by the banks of this river.

Concentrating on the indispensability of River Hooghly, the need for linking the port to major cities via Highways was inevitable. Hence, the many bridges on river Hooghly….

Howrah Bridge

Howrah Bridge is a must visit place in Kolkata. During British period it was the only bridge to connecting two cities Kolkata and Howrah. Later another bridge (2nd Hoogly Bridge or Vidyasagar Setu) was constructed on Hooghly River to minimize the traffic. Still millions of vehicles use to pass by this bridge, making it one of the busiest cantilever bridges in the world. It was renamed as “Rabindra Setu”, still popularly known as “Howrah Bridge”.

From the bridge one can see beautiful skyline of Kolkata and Howrah City, local ferry’s crossing the river. Visited several times. I have to go through Howrah bridge whenever I need to catch a train from Howrah station.

Vidyasagar Setu

Vidyasagar Setu (Bidyasagôr Setu), also known as the Second Hooghly Bridge (Dwitiyô Hugli Setu), is a toll bridge over the Hooghly River in West Bengal, India, linking the cities of Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta) and Howrah. With a total length of 823 metres (2,700 ft), Vidyasagar Setu is the longest cable–stayed bridge in India. 

Population and commercial activity grew rapidly after India gained independence in August 1947. The only link across the Hooghly River, the Howrah Bridge, between Howrah and Kolkata, was subject to much traffic congestion, with over 85,000 vehicles every day. This necessitated planning for a new bridge across the river so that it could connect to the major cities of Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi and Chennai (Madras) through the national highways located close to the bridge.

Vivekananda Setu

The bridge popularly known as Bally Bridge was initially christened Willingdon Bridge. Constructed in 1932, Vivekanand Setu helped link Kolkata and Howrah districts to cities. It links Bally with Dakhineshwar. A multi span bridge, it spans to 880 metres! The name Willingdon was conferred upon the bridge after Freeman Freeman Thomas, the first Marquis of Willingdon.

The utility of Vivekanand Setu spills onto the fact that it acts as a road and rail link, connecting Barrackpore Trunk Road in Kolkata to Grand trunk Road in Howrah. The rail link through it connects Sealdah with Dankuni.

With the population explosion and hence increase in the number of vehicles, the bridge bears the commuting of over 24000 vehicles on a daily basis, via National Highway 2 to Delhi and National Highway 6 to Mumbai.

Nivedita Setu

Kolkata’s Nivedita Setu has been described by many as the ‘wonder of architecture’.  The cable-stayed bridge over the Hooghly River is designed to carry 48,000 vehicles per day. It’s also known as the Second Vivekananda Setu as the bridge was built to handle a large portion of the total traffic of Vivekananda Setu. The bridge is named after the famous disciple of Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita.

Nivedita Setu is the first bridge in India to have a single profile cable-stayed design.  The bridge has a total 7 spans, is 20 metres (95 ft) wide, and 880 metres (2,890 ft) long and handles high-speed traffic via six lanes, and has been bestowed with ‘Award of Excellence’ by American Segmental Bridge Institute, USA.

The main concept behind Nivedita Setu was to design and construct it in such a way that it did not obstruct the views of the historically important Dakshineswar Kali Temple and the old Vivekananda Setu while supporting higher levels of fast traffic. The bridge runs parallel to the old Vivekananda Setu which was opened in 1932.

Jubilee Bridge

The Jubilee Bridge , known originally as the Hooghly River Bridge,is an important rail bridge over Hooghly River between Naihati and Hooghly. The bridge was constructed by the East Indian Railway and connected to the East Bengal Railway(EBR) enabling freight traffic from upper India to run to the Port of Calcutta, with a charge being paid to EBR for the use of their tracks.

A railway bridge was constructed in the late 19th century to span the Hooghly River near Kolkata – formerly known as Calcutta and the capital of erstwhile British India. Due to its opening in 1887, the fiftieth year of the reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria, the bridge was called the Jubilee Bridge.

The Bridge was designed by Alexander Meadows Rendel, Consultant Engineer to EIR and Bradford Leslie, the EIR Chief Engineer. The Jubilee Bridge is considered to be the climax of both their bridge-building careers allowing trains to cross the Hooghly River to Calcutta. The construction started in 1882 and was completed in 1887. 

Sampreeti Bridge

The Sampreeti Bridge also fondly called the New Jubilee bridge was started in 2005 but it started to take shape only from 2010 and after 10 years (delayed by 7 year due to technical challenges), was completed in 2016 with a total expenditrue outlay of 240 crores. The new steel bridge, separated by the old one by 22 metres, spanning a length of  417 mtrs  and is over 6,580-tonne.

Ishwar Gupta Setu

Construction of Iswar Gupta Setu, the first of its kind, to initiate soon. This is the first “enclosed cable-stayed bridge with inclined pylons” in India and this is going to be a landmark in a few years. A discussion in this regard was held between the officials of the West Bengal Highway Development Corporation and Rites authorities at Nabanna on Monday. All necessary work that needs to be done before initiating the work at the site is almost complete and according to the officials the work is going to start soon with a target of completing the bridge by the end of 2021.

It may be mentioned that National Highway 34 is the lifeline of North Bengal and a vehicle from Dankuni in Hooghly will take only 30 minutes time to reach Nadia if it takes the new Iswar Gupta Setu to go across the river!


About Author

Dipti Datta

Dipti is an entrepreneur and a libertarian. Previously associated with some of the most renowned television channels and personalities as a stylist and being a qualified fashion designer her creative bent is apparent. Also,Having worked copiously with a team as an Operations Manager on an online portal, her conviction to work as a team player is undaunting. Her inclination to write is very strong as well, inevitably, as she holds a bachelors degree in English literature. Dipti is A travel buff, an avid reader and a painter and also dabbles in writing poetry. She believes that creativity is the best form of reform. Dipti is determined to associate herself with people and work alike, that refine her tastes and sharpen her sensibilities.


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