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Finally, work set to begin on world’s tallest rail bridge

After a hiatus of over three years, work is set to begin on India’s most ambitious railway bridge project over the Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir. The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) floated bids for bridge construction recently.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2012 01:47 IST
Srinand Jha

After a hiatus of over three years, work is set to begin on India’s most ambitious railway bridge project over the Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir. The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) floated bids for bridge construction recently.

“Various geo-technical investigations, such as soil boring, plate and shear load tests, have now been completed. Part-approval for the project design has also been received from Indian Railways,” KRCL executive director (projects) Rajesh Agarwal said.

Construction work on the 70-km-long Katra-Dharam section — a critical link in the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula Rail Link (USBRL) project — had been stalled for the last https://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/6/19-06-pg-13a.jpgfew years, after the Railway Board decided to take a re-look at the design alignment in 2008. Although it was cleared in September 2009, the project started gaining impetus only recently, officials said.

Once constructed, the Chenab bridge – standing 359 metres above the river bed – will be the world’s tallest rail bridge, higher than the one over River Tarn in France. The tallest pillar of the Tarn Bridge measures 340 metres, while the train runs at an height of 300 metres.

The bridge will be approximately five times higher than the Qutab Minar (72 metres), and even higher than the Eiffel Tower (324 metres).

According to 2004 estimates, the bridge was supposed to be constructed at a cost of R512.74 crore – involving the excavation of over 8 lakh m3 of land (equivalent to a 54-storey building on a plot the size of a football ground), and concreting an area of 46,000 cubic metres.

KRCL officials blame the Northern Railway for the delay. “Full design approvals are still awaited, requests for deputation of civil engineers remained pending, approvals to float new tenders are often delayed,” an official said.