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The Next Man-Made Wonder? World's Highest Railway Bridge being built over Chenab will dwarf The Eiffel Tower

Source : DailyMailUK

The Next Man-Made Wonder? World's Highest Railway Bridge being built over Chenab will dwarf The Eiffel Tower
Beautiful Snapshots of the World's Highest Railway Bridge being built over Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Touted as the next man-made wonder, the world's highest rail bridge being built across Chenab riverbed in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir will take at least three more years to be functional.

Railway officials say the bridge, which is five times higher than Delhi's Qutub Minar and far taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, will be completed by December 2016.

The arched structure will connect Baramulla to Jammu via Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund with a travel time of six-and-a-half hours. Currently, it takes exactly double the time - 13 hours - to reach Jammu from Baramulla in northern Kashmir, which is 60km from Srinagar.

Architectural Marvel

The construction of the bridge started in 2002 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister. It was stopped in 2008 when the project was announced to be unsafe. However, the construction restarted in 2010, and has now been declared a national project.

The bridge is coming up at Salal village in Reasi.


Details of The World's highest Chenab Railway Bridge over Chenab river

At a height of 359 metres, the strong wind in the area posed a big threat to the project.

"The weather in the region gets worse in no time due to the Himalayan range. At such height, the bridge can lose shape due to strong winds, which is why, we have made a special design for this project," said B.D. Garg, chief administrative officer of this project in Northern Railway.

"This bridge project has been allotted to Afcons India Private Ltd and we have also hired consulting agency from Denmark," he added.

The area is made of limestone, which often causes landslides during rainy season. Keeping this in mind, the bridge is being made in an arched shape. For the entire project, railways have constructed around 250km of approach roads at the approximate cost of Rs 2,000 crore.

The most difficult phase of the project now is the construction of the section between Banihal and Katra. Most tunnels on the entire stretch falls in this section. The 1.3km-long bridge is being constructed between Salal A and Salal B stations. It will be able to take the load of 18 train coaches at one time and project officials are using steel girder plates to install it using cable cranes.

The steel plates have been procured from the Bhilai plant of Steel Authority of India, while the girders are assembled at a fabrication workshop built adjacent to the bridge.

"Each girder plate is eight-metrelong and we have estimated that 161 girders will be required for the purpose," said Saumendra Roy Chaudhary, GM, Afcon.

As the bridge is designed in a curved shape, special arrangements are being made to launch the deck girder. A steel structure is the preferred choice at such locations as it can absorb force without damage. The arch shape, invented by the Romans, requires less material for construction and is easier to repair. Such bridges exist in only about six other countries.

Rail Link For Katra

From April onwards, pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi will be far more convenient. Railway officials say about 30 per cent work of the project has been completed with trial runs on the 25km-long Udhampur-Katra rail section likely to start by the end of next month.

The work on Qazigund-Baramulla section has already been completed and is likely to be opened for public in three phases. The first phase of construction of a 66-km-long stretch between Anantnag and Rajwansher has been in use since October 2008.

Of the 25km Udhampur-Katra rail section, 11km are being constructed in tunnels with nine major and 29 minor bridges. The project cost has cost Rs 923 crore up to now. The entire undertaking has been allotted to two contractors - Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd and Afcon India Pvt Ltd.

Salal Village lacks basic infrastructure. "We have to go to Katra or Jammu travelling four to five hours to see doctors," said Baldev Singh Nambardaar of Salal.

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