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Atal Setu

Veer Kunwar Singh Setu

2013-2017 | Arrah to Chhapra, Bihar, India

The 4,350m Veer Kunwar Singh Bridge opened in June 2017 and rapidly changed the ‘kismet’ (or destiny, a popular belief in India) of some of the most underprivileged people worldwide. The bridge has reduced the commute from Northern to Southern Bihar by four hours, critically supporting the government’s economic initiatives of providing the north with direct access to educational, business, and cultural opportunities in the capital city of Patna.

This new bridge was one of the key promises Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made in 2010. However, the procurement process took longer than anticipated, and when contractor SP Singla was awarded the project in 2013, they were told to cut the project duration by at least 12 months. SP Singla engaged McElhanney to value engineer a faster-to-build, iconic design at minimal cost increase.

The as-bid design was a cast-in-place, variable-depth segmental box girder superstructure for the navigation spans, and constant-depth precast box girder system in the approach spans. Saving 12 months required new thinking. McElhanney proposed an extradosed system in the navigation spans instead, which combines the structural efficiency and aesthetics of stay-cable technology with the robustness of a girder system. The Veer Kunwar Singh would be the longest extradosed bridge in the world.

BC engineers navigated restrictions and challenges including monsoons, the 2015 nearby Nepalese earthquakes, cultural challenges, an inexperienced contractor, and an extremely compressed schedule to deliver the state of Bihar an iconic bridge that is not only aesthetically interesting but enriching the living standard for India’s poorest people.

The project earned a 2018 ACEC-BC Award of Merit in the Transportation & Bridges category and a 2018 Award of Merit from the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).

Throughout the project, McElhanney provided the following services:

  • Concept development and detailed design of the extradosed system
  • Construction engineering including preparation of construction manual and geometry control manual
  • Preparation of precast segment shop drawings
  • Review of shop drawings prepared by suppliers and fabricators
  • Development of construction program and schedule
  • Vetting of supplier proposals
  • On-site support and Quality Assurance
  • Load testing protocol development
Kids in front of bridge
Staff on bridge
On Bridge
Bridge Engineers in India
Bridge and Setting Sun
Cow and bridge in background