New railway bridge beside Delhi’s iconic Lohe Ka Pul likely by Sep | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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New railway bridge beside Delhi’s iconic Lohe Ka Pul likely by Sep

Mar 05, 2023 12:01 AM IST

Work on the new bridge, which is being built parallel to the Old Yamuna Bridge or Loha Pul, began in 2003. The construction work witnessed several halts over the years owing to structural changes.

Two decades after it began, construction of the much-awaited new Yamuna bridge is likely to be completed soon and it will be made operational by September 2023, officials of the Northern Railways said on Saturday.

The new railway bridge coming up over the Yamuna. The iconic Lohe Ka Pul in the backdrop. The iron bridge was built in 1866 by British engineers. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)
The new railway bridge coming up over the Yamuna. The iconic Lohe Ka Pul in the backdrop. The iron bridge was built in 1866 by British engineers. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)

Work on the new bridge, which is being built parallel to the Old Yamuna Bridge or Loha Pul, began in 2003. The construction work witnessed several halts over the years owing to structural changes.

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“Work is nearing completion now and is likely to be completed by September 2023. Out of 15 foundations, 11 have been completed. Rest of the work is likely to be completed before the Monsoon,” said a senior Northern Railway official. Out of the 14 spans of the bridge, open web girders have been launched at six of them, the official added.

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“For the remaining eight spans, fabrication work is in progress and they will be brought to the site as and when these sub-structures get completed,” the official said.

The Loha Pul is two-deck bridge, with the lower deck carrying vehicular traffic, while trains ply on the upper-deck. Unlike the old bridge, which has a speed restriction of 30kmph due to it being overage, the new bridge will facilitate faster train speed, officials said.

According to railway officials, while the rail traffic will be shifted to the roughly one kilometre-long new bridge when it opens, the road traffic will still continue through the old bridge.

One of the major issues that delayed the construction work was the requirement of change in alignment of the bridge, owing to objections by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as its original alignment was making its way through Salimgarh Fort, a protected monument.

The new bridge was sanctioned in 1997-98 as the older, Brirish-era Yamuna bridge on the Delhi–Shahdara section, built in 1866-67, was becoming weaker and faced frequent floodings.

“Work started in the year 2003 and according to the proposed alignment of the new bridge, its approach track was to pass through the premises of Salimgarh Fort in order to connect with the existing railway tracks. To execute the same, a piece of land of around 1,000 square metre was required to be acquired in the premises of Salimgarh Fort,” said a second railway official, on condition of anonymity. In a 2004 meeting with the then tourism minister and ASI, the official said that it was agreed that the land transfer would happen but in 2007, ASI withdrew the permission, saying that dismantling of the fort’s wall could cause irreversible damage.

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“Finally, in 2011, based on a report submitted by the cultural impact assessment committee of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage on behalf of Railways, it was decided to change the alignment of the bridge. In 2012, ASI once again gave its clearance, but by then nine well foundations had already been completed. A new alignment was proposed, therefore, the original contract had to be closed,” the official added.

With the opening of the new bridge, the Railways is considering to preserve the old structure as a heritage structure.However, it could also be handed over to the state government for maintenance and operation of road traffic, officials said.

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