SRINAGAR: The railway bridge that connects two banks of the Chenab in Reasi and is higher than the Eiffel Tower is almost completed. The workers and engineers celebrated the completion of the overarch deck of the huge infrastructure project by unfurling the tricolour in the middle of the bridge on Saturday.
The Rs 1250 crore bridge is 1.3-km-long long and is located 359 meters above the Chenab riverbed. Its overall height puts the bridge – an engineering marvel – almost 30 metres higher than the Paris Eiffel Tower. The bridge connects the Bakkal and Kouri belts that are located on the two banks of the major river in Jammu and Kashmir. It is 84 metres higher than the current record holder for the world’s highest bridge, a 275 metres high bridge across the Bepanjiang river in China, reports appearing in the media said.
Konkan Railways Chairman and MD, Sanjay Gupta had specially flown to the site to celebrate the occasion with the staff and the workers who were on the job for the last many years. The bridge has been named ‘Golden Joint’ because “this joint not only connects both sides of the deck but also proves the quality and precision of work done by different teams of engineers and workers.” Mumbai-based infrastructure major Afcons implemented the project.
The bridge is crucial to the rail connectivity between Delhi and Srinagar. It is a key connection on the 111-km Katra to Banihal stretch, which is the most challenging one. Now a few tunnels – currently at an advanced stage of implementation – will make the rail connect Baramulla round the clock. The bridge required 28,660 MT of steel fabrication and has the capacity to withstand wind up to 100 kmph and bear earthquake forces of zone V. The work on the massive project started in 2004 and involved more than 1300 workers and 300 engineers. There were, however, frequent halts in work because of design and safety concerns. Officials said the project is 98 per cent complete.