Engineering marvel: The world’s highest railway bridge linking Kashmir Valley with the rest of India

The bridge has been described as the greatest challenge faced by the Indian Railways, and, once completed, will be nothing short of an “engineering marvel.”

Key Highlights

  • Currently being constructed over the Chenab River, the endeavour, reportedly, requires the use of the world’s longest cable crane management system
  • Originally slated to be completed by May 2019, Konkan Railway officials have said that more than 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been involved in its construction
  • The bridge will be the final, and most crucial component of the 111-km rail line connecting Katra and Banihal

December 2021 is the reported deadline for the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project that will have Kashmir, for the first time in India’s history, connected to the rest of the country via the railway network. The rail line announced as a national project all the way back in 2002, is being constructed and managed by the Konkan Railway and will also integrate the world’s highest railway bridge, believed to be 35m taller than France’s Eiffel Tower.

Earlier this week, Konkan Railway Chairman Sanjay Gupta briefed reporters stating that the project was the “most challenging task” in the history of Indian Railways, stating that the bridge itself, once completed, will be an “engineering marvel.”

What makes the arch-shaped bridge such a monumental challenge is the hostile terrain in which it has to be constructed. Currently being constructed over the Chenab River, the endeavour, reportedly, requires the use of the world’s longest cable crane management system (with a span of 915m), with heavy segments being carried from both, the Kauri end, as well as the opposite Bakkal end. Conducted in tandem with the AFCONS group, the total outlay for the 1.3km bridge is expected to stand at Rs 1,250 crore. Spokesmen from Konkan Railways have also stated that the bridge will be able to sustain seismic fluctuations up to a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale.

Originally slated to be completed by May 2019, Konkan Railway officials have said that more than 1,300 workers and 300 engineers have been involved in its construction, working around the clock. Construction of the bridge began in 2004 but was stopped under safety grounds, owing to an increase in the frequency and velocity of winds in the region. The bridge is expected to be able to withstand winds up to 260km per hour and will have a lifespan of 120 years. It will connect the rail line to three large tunnels.

The bridge will be the final, and most crucial component of the 111-km rail line connecting Katra and Banihal. When the project is fully completed, it will break the current record for the highest bridge held by the Beipan River Shuibai railway bridge in China, which stands at a height of 275m.

Originally published at https://www.timesnownews.com