Come December 2021, the world's highest railway bridge - Chenab Bridge - will be completed and Kashmir valley will be connected to the rest of India. The 1.315-km long arch bridge over the Chenab river-bed being built at a height of 359 metres is 35 metres taller than the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. The bridge being built on the Katra-Banihal railway line at village Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir will link Bakkal in Katra and Kauri in Srinagar. The Chenab bridge forms a crucial part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project.
India is gradually becoming home to the world's tallest, largest and highest. While, the Statue of Unity, in Gujarat's Kevadia Colony is the world's tallest statue; the soon to be completed Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium, Motera in Ahmedabad will be the world's largest cricket stadium. Joining the list is the Chenab Bridge, in Jammu & Kashmir, which will be the highest railway bridge in the world.
The Chenab bridge, being executed by Konkan Railways, with a lifespan of over 120 years would be able to withstand 40 kg of TNT blast, wind speed up to 260 kmph, as well as an earthquake of magnitude 8 on the Richter Scale. It is the seventh-largest arch-shaped bridge in the world and is being constructed in a hostile terrain. There is no support except on both sides of the river banks, one of the supporting RCC and steel pillar is 133 meters high and the arch is supported by piers and trusses. Around 24,000-plus tonnes of steel will be utilized for the construction of the bridge. Steel is being used as an inclusive material as it is more economical and can take temperatures as low as -20 degrees celsius.
Considering the terrorism-prone region, Indian Railways and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are working to make sure that the bridge can withstand any major blast. The bridge is being built with 63 mm-thick special blast-proof steel. The concrete pillars of the bridge have been designed to withstand explosions and for this, it would include a 1.2 metre-wide central verge and a 14 metre-wide dual carriageway. In a bid to enhance safety, a “ring of aerial security” is also being provided to protect the Chenab bridge. For the safety of passengers and trains, an online monitoring and warning system will also be installed on the Chenab bridge.
A Few Highlights of the Man-Made-Wonder
• Chenab bridge, 359 metres above the river bed, will be 35 metres taller than Paris’s Eiffel Tower and five times the height of Qutub Minar
• To ensure Chenab bridge’s sturdiness, it is being built with 63 mm-thick special blast-proof steel
• Self-compacting concrete is being utilised for filling steel boxes as well as for ends of plate girders
• Chenab bridge has also been designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 260 km per hour
• A ring of aerial security is also likely to be provided to safeguard the bridge. To protect passengers and trains in critical conditions, an online monitoring and warning system will also be installed on the bridge