The construction of the arch closure of the iconic Chenab Bridge, the world’s highest railway bridge, was completed on Monday by the India Railways. The bridge is a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL). The construction is considered a major leap towards the completion of the 111 km-long winding stretches from Katra to Banihal
Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal released a video of the project on Twitter writing, “A moment of pride for India! The arch of Chenab bridge, connecting Kashmir to Kanyakumari has been completed. With an arch span of 467m, it is the world’s highest railway bridge. PM Narendra Modi ji’s vision to connect India has inspired the Railway family to scale new heights.”
According to a statement issued by the ministry, the Arch closure was one of the most difficult parts of the bridge over Chenab and its completion is a major leap towards the completion of the 111 km-long winding stretch from Katra to Banihal
It is arguably the biggest civil-engineering challenge faced by any railway project in India in recent history. The 5.6-meter last piece of metal was fitted at the highest point today and joined the two arms of the arch that currently stretch towards each other from both the banks of the river. This completed the shape of the arch that will then loom over the treacherous Chenab, flowing some 359 meters below, said the ministry in a statement.
After the completion of the arch work, removal of the stay cables, filling of the concrete in the arch rib, erection of the steel trestle, launching of the viaduct, and track laying work will be taken up.
The Chenab Bridge – having a length of 1.315 km – will be the highest railway bridge in the world being 359m above the river bed level and will be 35 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris (France). It involves the fabrication of 28,660 metric tonnes of steel, 10 lakh cum earthwork, 66,000 cum concrete, and 26 km motorable roads.
“At present, it takes 12 hours via road (Katra-Banihal), but after completion of the bridge, distance via train would be halved. The completion is expected in two years,” said. Northern Railway General Manager Ashutosh Gangal told ANI.