§ Mr. COOPER
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether the double track Sara Bridge over the Lower Ganges is now estimated to cost nearly £3,300,000, whereas the original estimate was, for a double track bridge, £1,400,000, or for a single track bridge, £930,000; whether a double track bridge is really required for the amount of traffic that it is estimated will pass over the bridge; whether he is advised that this estimated cost of the bridge, nearly £3,300,000, may le assumed to be approximately the final cost; whether the latter compares favourably or otherwise with the cost of the bridge at Benares, in which the spans are somewhat longer than in the Sara Bridge and where the river has a higher flood level and a stronger current in the monsoon, or with any other bridge in India; whether he will state the weight per span and the length 218W of the Lower Ganges bridge and of the Benares bridges, respectively; and whether the construction of other bridges at Semuriah Ghat, near Mokameh, and at Godageri, is contemplated and what are the respective estimates of cost?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The first estimate made in 1902. It was for a single-track line at a cost of £930,000. The second estimate was made in 1908 by a special committee of engineers. It increased the. strength of the bridge, added protective works and a double track, and was roughly estimated at £1,400,000. A double track is considered necessary. The Secretary of State has no reason to suppose that the final cost of the works included in the estimate will exceed £3,300,000. The cost of the Dufferin Bridge at Benares was. £313,650. No comparison of any value can be made between the Sara Bridge and the Benares Bridge or any other bridge in India. As regards the Benares Bridge, a comparison would be valueless for the following reasons: The Benares Bridge is for a single track, the Sara Bridge for a double track; the Benares Bridge consists of seven spans of long girders (350 feet) and nine spans of short girders (111 feet), and has a total length of 3,518 feet; the Sara Bridge has fifteen spans of long girders (345 feet) and six of short girders (75 feet), and a total length of 5,717 feet; the strains on the girders are determined on different data, those of the Sara Bridge being the more severe. The weight of steel in one of the long spans of the Benares Bridge is 746 tons, in that of the Sara 1,250 tons. Owing to the difference in the nature of the ground in the neighbourhood of the two sites, the necessary preventive works at Sara are enormously greater and more costly than those at Benares. The construction of a bridge at Mokamah is contemplated, but not at. Godagiri. No regular estimate has yet been prepared for a bridge at Mokamah.