India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a plan to construct a Rs49.97bn ($704.31m) bridge over the Brahmaputra river.

It will be built with loan assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at the civil construction cost of Rs35.48bn ($499.96m) and total capital expenditure of Rs49.97bn ($704.31m), including Rs556.8m ($7.85m) for land acquisition, rehabilitation, and resettlement, as well as other works.

The 19.282km bridge with four-lane will help connect two Indian states Assam and Meghalaya.

The project also includes construction of approaches over Brahmaputra between Dhubri in Assam and Phulbari in Meghalaya on National Highway 127-B.

Brahmaputra bridge will be built under the scheme of North-East Road Network Connectivity Project Phase-03.

“Once operational, the bridge will cut the travel distance between Dhubri and Phulbari from 205.3km to 19.282km.”

An official release said: “This alignment will further augment the transport network for the region by providing the shortest link between the western regions of Meghalaya, as well as Barak Valley region of Assam and southern states in the north-east.”

Construction of the bridge is expected to complete over the next six years.

Once operational, the bridge will cut the travel distance between Dhubri and Phulbari from 205.3km to 19.282km, while reducing travel time from five hours to 20 minutes.

At present, those who travel across Assam and Meghalaya will have to either take the Naranarayan bridge, which causes inconvenience as it is 60km upstream or use small boats to complete their journey.

Dhubri District Administration has already started land acquisition for construction of roads to accommodate the bridge over the Brahmaputra, which is said to be India’s longest river bridge, according to GPlus.