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India builds world’s highest railway bridge over Chenab river in J&K

Last Updated on April 4, 2021 at 9:00 pm

The world’s highest railway bridge over Chenab river will feature a half-a-kilometre long arch which will be completed on Monday. Constructing this Rs 1,400-crore worth bridge was one of the biggest civil-engineering challenge in India in recent history.

This is a 111-km long-winding stretch from Katra to Banihal. As this bridge is completed, a train from Kanyakumari can travel to Kashmir without using other stretches.

chenab bridge

Cable cranes which are completing this arch are around 900 meters long and one of the longest in the world. These cranes are made especially for this project. Vijay Sharma, head of the Udhampur–Srinagar–Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) National Project in Jammu and Kashmir said that they had to stop their work many times as strong winds over 50-60 km per hour speed often flow in this region. That’s the main reason why it has taken two-and-a-half years for this arch to be completed.

The Chenab bridge has been a part of controversies since its construction started. This is being built in middle of Seismic Zone IV which has made it an extremely tough job for railway engineers. Railways has said that a railway bridge like this in such difficult terrain is one of its kind. This Chenab bridge is scheduled to be completed a year later.

Engineers who are involved in construction of this bridge say that one of the biggest problem which they are facing is that this bridge will stand on two embankments without any intermediate pier. Chenab river is 359 meters down and it is not possible to build any pillar there to support the structure. The arch is 550-meter long and weighs around 10,000 metric tons. Distance between both the embankments is 467 metres and whole bridge will weigh around 29,000 metric tons.

Both cranes which are being used to build this arch are specially designed and are one kilometre long. A national accredited welding lab cum workshop was set up for welding works. If total length of all the welding is added up then it will be around 550 km which almost equal to the distance between Delhi and Jammu.

Natural circumstances like rain, thunderstorms, landslides and even snowfall have often caused hindrance in work. Other than engineering challenge, weather-induced challenges were the biggest hurdle, according to engineers. They start working from 5 am every day and continue working till evening to complete this project as soon as humanly possible. All 680 workers, officers and engineers involved in this project have been vaccinated.