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World’s tallest railway bridge on Chenab to complete by May 2019

At 359 metres, it is 35 metres taller than Eiffel Tower, about 5 times higher than Qutub Minar
Bakkal-Kauri (Reasi) | Posted : Nov 7 2017 1:30AM | Updated: Nov 7 2017 12:54AM
World’s tallest railway bridge on Chenab to complete by May 2019
Photo: Mir Imran/GK

World's tallest railway bridge, construction of which is on in full swing in Reasi district over Chenab River as part of ambitious Katra-Banihal rail section of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Project is going becoming reality by May 2019 as Northern Railway has launched the main arch of the steel bridge.

The 1314 meters long bridge will soar to a height of 359 metres over the river bed, which is 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The bridge shall be about 5 times higher than Qutub Minar, Delhi.

“The work of installation of the main arch between two sides of the bridge was started a Bakkal end from where the curvy-shape steel block will go towards another end of river with the help of giant cable cranes,” said M K Gupta, member engineering, Railway Board, told reporters after performing traditional poojan at the site.

“One arch is around 20 tonne of weight and 55 such arches will join together to complete a ‘D’ shape structure of length 467 meters over which two railways tracks would lay to cover a distance of 1315 meters,” he added.

“It is part of a big project. The work is being done by AFCONS through Konkan railways. We will complete it by May 2019,” Gupta said, adding, “The initial cost of this project is estimated at Rs 1198 crore.”

He however added that 111 kilometers Katra-Banihal stretch would complete by March 2021.

“Detailed geophysical studies, seismic studies and slope stability studies have been included. Consultants from Finland and Germany including from national reputed institutions have been engaged during various stages of the project,” Gupta added.

“The work has been launched simultaneously from both the sides (Kauri and Bakkal). The project is designed as per British standards to resist server earthquake of magnitude 8 on the Richter scale and high speed winds upto 276 kilometers per hour”, he said. It will come with a lifespan of 120 years.

“Due to hostile weather condition in the region which reaches sub-zero in winters, special steel with impact strength of 27 joules at minus 20 degree Celsius has been selected for the entire project, he said, adding, “Total quantity of steel fabrication used is 28000 metric tonne”.

Gupta added that erection of the bridge is a project in itself. “Three massive workshops for undertaking fabrication of steel structure have been commissioned at Kauri end of the bridge and one at Bakkal end of the bridge. Four pylons were erected on either side of the river, and two auxiliary self-propelled cable cranes were used to tow temporary auxiliary ropes across these pylons,” he said.

"For launching purpose, arrangements in the form of pylons with cable cranes spanning the entire gorge have been completed successfully. The cable crane assembly including pylons at span of 915 meters is the longest in the world.

The officials said that more than 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been working round-the-clock to complete the bridge by May 2019.

The construction started in 2004, but the work was stopped in 2008-09 on the aspect of safety of rail passengers due to frequent high-velocity winds in the area.

On the other side of Chenab river, the Railways is constructing three big tunnels of various lengths - T 2 (5.9 KM), T 3 (9.369 km) and T 14 (13 km).

The bridge forms the crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra and Banihal which is part of the Udhampur- Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway Project.