After years of eerie and arduous construction, the arch of the world’s largest railway bridge over the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir was completed on Monday.
Rising 359 meters above the riverbed, this miracle is very unique and is the only one in India. The Northern Railways calls this achievement a milestone.
The 1.3-kilometer bridge aims to improve connectivity to the Kashmir Valley and is being built at a cost of Rs 1,486 crore as part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project.
The railway ministry said the bridge was another major step towards completing the 111-kilometer stretch that winds from Katra to Banihal.
The bridge, which is 35 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, is expected to be completed within a year, various news reports say.
“This is a historic day for the Northern Railway and a significant milestone in the completion of the USBRL project, connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country. This project will be completed in two and a half years,” said General Manager of Northern Railways Ashutosh Gangal as reported by the PTI news agency.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal witnessed the historic moment of descending the arch closure segment with a cable crane via a video link from Delhi.
The Ministry of Railways said that the final 5.6-meter strip of metal (the cover segment) was installed at the highest point of the arch on Monday. It joins the two arch arms currently stretching towards each other from both edges of the Chenab, he said.
The bridge has been designed for blast loads in consultation with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for the first time in India. It can withstand high wind speeds of up to 266 km / h and will continue to operate at a limited speed of 30 km / h even after one pier / stanchion has been moved.
The bridge has also been specially designed to withstand the strength of the V-zone highest intensity earthquake in India.