It is expected that by 2019 River Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) will boast of the highest railway bridge in the world. The new bridge is expected to be 35 m higher than Eiffel Tower. This massive structure is shaped like an arch and would take around INR 1100 crore to be erected in what can justifiably be called hostile terrain. It will be built using more than 24,000 tonnes of steel and it will be located 359 m above the river’s surface. The new bridge is expected to be capable of withstanding winds up to a speed of 260 km per hour.
An engineering marvel
The bridge will cover a distance of 1315 km and as such it can be called an engineering marvel of sorts. Its two terminal stations are Bakkal at Katra and Kauri at Srinagar. The bridge will constitute a crucial link between Katra and Banihal, a distance of 111 km. This is also going to be a part of the rail project linking Udhampur, Baramulla, and Srinagar. According to senior officials in the railway ministry, construction happens to be the most-challenging aspect of the entire rail link project. Once it gets completed, it is expected to draw in plenty of tourists.
The bridge, designed by consultants who hail from countries such as Germany and Finland, is expected to withstand blasts as well. It is also being built in such a way that it can withstand the effects of earthquakes. Indian Railways says that the second and third-highest river bridges are both at Guizhou, China. The second highest is Najiehe Railway Bridge, which is located at a height of 310 m. It is located at Liuchangxiang. The third-highest railway bridge is Bejpan River Shuibai Railway Bridge. It is located at Liupanshui and is at a height of 275 m.
The role played by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)
DRDO has played an important role in the construction of this bridge. It has collaborated with Indian Railways to make sure that the bridge is able to stand up to the effects of blasts by terrorists, a common problem in the area where the bridge is being built. To make sure that the bridge is safer and more secure it has been made with steel that can withstand such blasts and is 63 mm thick. It is expected to be finalized by March 2019.
Some more details regarding the bridge
The bridge is going to be 4314 feet in length and its height is going to be 1,178 ft. The arch span is going to be 1570 feet. On the Kauri side, it will be 1178 feet higher than Chenab River. The bridge was originally supposed to be completed by 2009 but its construction could not be proceeded with on account of safety and stability issues. Construction resumed during 2010. It is also expected that there would be a ropeway in the bridge in order to inspect it from time to time. Indian Railways is also supposed to install sensors on the bridge in order to check the wind velocity.