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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved construction of a six-lane, 9.9 km-long bridge across river Ganga on National Highway 96 at Phaphamau in Allahabad at a cost of Rs 1,948.25 crore. The cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

In an official release, the CCEA said that the construction duration of the bridge was three years, and is scheduled to be open in December 2021. The new bridge will also facilitate large congregation of people in Allahabad during Kumbh, Ardh-Kumbh and other yearly ritual baths at Sangam. This would in turn help boost the tourism revenue of the area, especially in Prayag which is a key holy city in the area.

The release also said that construction of the bridge would generate direct employment in the area for approximately 9.02 lakh man-days. 

The existing bridge at Phaphamau is a two-lane one, causing severe congestion and traffic jams at all times of the day. It was designed for a load of 15,000 cars but is currently facing a load of over 40,000 vehicles a day. 

The release said there were only 13 bridges on the Ganges between Allahabad to Farakka before May 2014. The government plans to build an additional 20 bridges, out of which four have been opened for traffic. Seven are currently under construction. In total, the government plans to have 33 bridges on the stretch to facilitate smooth traffic flow. 

Last year, the Uttar Pradesh government sent a proposal to the railways to build a skywalk over the century-old Curzon bridge. The bridge connects Allahabad with Phaphamau from Teliarganj over the Ganga river and has a road atop the railway line. The railways abandoned the bridge long ago due to safety concerns, but the road is still frequently used by pedestrians and two-wheelers. The government plans to develop the bridge as a heritage site to generate revenue but is yet to take any steps on that proposal.