The World’s Highest Rail Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir
In the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, India, the Chenab Rail Bridge connects Bakkal and Kauri and is made of steel and concrete. It is only 42 km from the main Reasi town.
The bridge is the tallest rail bridge in the world, spanning the Chenab River at a height of 359 metres (1,178 feet) above the water.
The main arch’s construction might begin in November 2017 when the base supports were deemed ready. In August 2022, the bridge was officially opened after being fully constructed.
The arch of the Chenab Rail Bridge was finished in April 2021, and the entire bridge was finished in August 2022.
Important bridge technical information is as follows:
Deck height: 359 m (1,178 ft) above river bed; 322 m over river surface (1,056 ft)
Bridge Length: 1,315 m (4,314 ft) is the length of the bridge, including the 650 m (2,130 ft) viaduct on the northern side.
Arch Span: 467-meter arch span (1,532 ft)
Arch Length: 480 metres for the arch (1,570 ft)
Hence, the Chenab Rail Bridge is the highest railway bridge in the world. The rail network’s 5 ft. 6 in. (1,676 mm) broad gauge bridge with the longest span.
Between the towns of Udhampur, which is close to Jammu, and Baramulla, which is on the northern edge of the Kashmir Valley, Northern Railway has begun the massive project of building a new railway line across the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2002, this initiative was designated as a national project. The Northern Railway is in charge of its direction.
The remarkable difficulty consists of implementing a significant number of tunnels (totaling 63 km in length) and bridges (7.5 km) in extremely rocky and steep terrain, with the challenging Himalayan geology. The crossing of the Chenab River’s deep gorge by the Chenab Bridge, which is close to Salal Hydro Power Dam, is thought to be the most challenging section.
The 657 m (2,156 ft) long and 189 m (620 ft) high Anji Khad Bridge between Katra and Reasi over the Chenab river tributary river was another, smaller, arch bridge proposed on the new railway line. Due to the area’s unique geology, the railway abandoned this plan, and now a cable-stayed bridge—Indian Railways’ first cable-stayed bridge—is being suggested.
The Chenab Rail Bridge was originally supposed to be finished in December 2009. The project, however, was put on hold in September 2008 because of concerns about the integrity and safety of the bridge. In 2010, construction on the bridge was resumed with the goal of finishing it in 2015.
With the assistance of IISc Bangalore, the design and construction were given to Afcons Infrastructure, a unit of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, the third-largest construction business in India. Konkan Railway Corporation made significant decisions on the construction. The bridge was designed with assistance from the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), which used special steel to make it blast-proof.
After much consideration, the Chenab Rail Bridge was created as a broad span single arch steel bridge with approach viaducts on either side, taking into account aesthetics, cost, and the accessibility of local construction materials and skills. The two-ribbed arch was made from substantial steel trusses.
To help reduce wind-induced stresses on the bridge, the chords of the trusses are sealed steel boxes filled with concrete and internally stiffened steel. The lack of need for interior painting is another benefit of concrete filling.
The bridge, which was built over the Chenab river in the Kouri area of the Reasi district, is over 1177 feet above the riverbed. It is a part of the eagerly awaited 272-kilometer railway line that runs from Udhampur to Baramulla and has 93 deck segments. The bridge is 1315 metres long and 35 metres taller than the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
It is the world’s tallest railway bridge. It is built to withstand earthquake forces of the greatest intensity zone-V as well as strong winds up to 266 km/h. Even if one pier or trestle is removed, the bridge can still carry traffic at a restricted speed of 30 km/h. In order to build the bridge, 28,660 MT of steel, 10 lakh tonnes of earthwork, 66,000 cubic yards of concrete, and 26 kilometres of motorable roadways had to be constructed.
It is also emphasised that more than 1,300 labourers and 300 engineers were required to complete the Chenab bridge project.
The most advanced “Tekla” software is used for structural details using structural steel suited for temperatures between -10°C and 40°C. To get to this point, the engineers and railway officials had to overcome a number of obstacles, including those posed by the geology, the tough terrain, and the hostile climate.
Status of Project till Date:
- Dec 2003: Project approved.
- Feb 2008: Contract awarded for construction.
- Aug 2010: Construction restarted.
- Jul 2017: Construction work resumed on the bridge.
- Nov 2017: The work bridge’s arch is expected to be completed by May 2019.
- Nov 2018: The bridge is now under active construction.
- Dec 2018: The project was expected to be completed by the end of 2019, but at this time, it seems unlikely.
- Aug 2019: 80% of construction work has been completed on the bridge, and is expected to be opened in mid-2020.
- Nov 2019: 83% work has been completed on the bridge, and is now expected to be opened in March 2021.
- Jan 2020: It is now expected to be opened in December 2021.
- Apr 2021: Work on both the ends of the bridge’s arch is finally completed. It is now expected to be opened in 2022.
- Jun 2022: About 90% of construction work has been completed, and is now confirmed to make the bridge operational by December 2022.
- Aug 2022: The bridge’s remaining work on the final joint was completed, and was inaugurated on 13 August 2022.
- Feb 2023: Track Laying starts.
Writer Agrita Chhibber is from Jammu
Mahabahu.com is an Online Magazine with collection of premium Assamese and English articles and posts with cultural base and modern thinking. You can send your articles to email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org ( For Assamese article, Unicode font is necessary)