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Final joints in place in world’s highest rly bridge over Chenab

Constructed at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore, the 1.3-km-long bridge is located 359 metres above the Chenab riverbed and it is 30 metres higher than Eiffel Tower in Paris.

World's highest single-arch railway bridge over the Chenab river, in Reasi district, Aug. 13, 2022. (PTI)

Coinciding with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the ‘golden joint’ connecting two ends of the overarch deck of the world’s highest railway bridge over Chenab river was inaugurated on Saturday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district.

Constructed at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore, the 1.3-km-long bridge is located 359 metres above the Chenab riverbed and it is 30 metres higher than Eiffel Tower in Paris.

It will provide all-weather rail connectivity to Kashmir. At present, Kashmir has only truncated railway line between Ramban district’s Banihal area of Jammu province to Baramulla in the Valley.

With the completion of the golden joint, the work on railway bridge over Chenab is almost over, officials said.

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The occasion was marked by bursting of firecrackers, with Konkan Railways workers hailing from different parts of the country waving national flags,  singing national anthem and chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ from the centre of the bridge.

“This is a historic moment,” a senior official said, adding that the completion of the ‘golden joint’ has been a long journey. The term ‘golden joint’ was coined by the civil engineers who worked on connecting the two ends of the deck of the bridge, he added.

Speaking to mediapersons, Konkan Railways Chairman and MD Sanjay Gupta said, “This has been a long journey. The term ‘Golden Joint’ was coined by the engineers working on the project…nothing to do with gold…it is the most important joint because this joint not only connect both side of deck but also proves the quality and precision of work done by different teams of engineers and workers,” he added.

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‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations atop overarch deck of the world’s highest single-arch railway bridge over the Chenab river, ahead of Independence Day in Reasi district, Aug. 13, 2022. (PTI)

With the completion of the joint, the Bakkal and Kouri sides of the bridge are linked with each other, opening a new chapter in the connectivity between them, said Surinder Mahi, Chief Administrative Officer of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railways. The project is going to be a game changer in the socio-economic upliftment of the Union Territory, he added.

Chenab Bridge had to overcome several challenges. The geology, the harsh terrain, and the hostile environment were just a few of the challenges that the engineers and railway officials had to overcome to get to this point.

The highest single-arch railway bridge in the world is a unique example in modern engineering, constructed by Mumbai-based infrastructure major Afcons and it is part of the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link (USBRL) project carried out by Northern Railways at an estimated cost of Rs 28,000 crore.

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The bridge with the main arch span of 467 metres and having a steel fabrication of approximately 28,660 MT has been designed to withstand wind up to 100 kmph. Its other unique features include use of concrete filled trusses and power operated cars for inspection and maintenance for the first time in India and is designed to bear earthquake forces of zone V.

The Ministry of Railways had sanctioned the project from Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla in phases which include Udhampur to Katra (25km) stretch in 1995; Quazigund to Baramulla (118km) in 1999 and Katra to Quazigund (129km) in 1999. It was declared as the National Project in 2002.

First published on: 13-08-2022 at 09:48:19 pm
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