Posted: Posted Date – 1:15 PM, Friday – Aug 5, 22
Bombay/Srinagar: In a milestone on the world’s tallest single-arch railway bridge over the Chenab River, the launch of the upper bridge is expected to be completed within a week, with a “golden joint” connecting the two sides, in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir Union, excited officials said here on Friday.
The 1.315 km long bridge – which is built at a dizzying height of 359 meters – can contain the entire Eiffel Tower (330 meters high), plus approximately a 10-story building below.
When completed, it will link Salal-A and Dugga stations on either side of the bridge with the mighty Chenab River gushing below in the postcard-perfect district of Reasi.
“The two ends will finally come together to complete the bridge’s arch deck and the segments will be joined using High Tensile Friction Bolts (HSFG) to mark the critical ‘golden seam’ on the iconic structure. This will complete the Chenab River Bridge, 359 meters above the riverbed, an extraordinary achievement and heralding a new chapter in J&K’s history,” said Giridhar Rajagopalan, Deputy Managing Director of Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. ., at IANS in Mumbai.
The bridge consists of 93 deck segments, each weighing around 85 tons, launched simultaneously from both ends of the valley over the massive steel arch and five segment joining works in progress on the single line linking Katra (Jammu) to Qazigund (Kashmir), about 75 km, he said.
The project is part of the ambitious 272 km Udhampur to Baramulla railway line linking Jammu with the Kashmir valley as an all-weather high-speed alternative, named as “Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link Project” .
The bridge has so far swallowed around 30,350 tonnes of steel, including 10,620 tonnes to build the gigantic arch and 14,500 tonnes for the bridge deck, and stands majestically near the village of Kauri upstream from the Salal Dam .
Explaining the high technology that was used in the construction, Rajagopalan said that for the first time in Indian Railways, the soft launch was carried out on a transition curve and a longitudinal gradient, both at the same place, to the launching of the bridge from the viaduct part on the bridge.
Normally, bridges are built gradually on a straight or curved platform with a uniform radius, and the execution of launching activities in bad weather with stormy winds was extremely difficult, and Northern Railways and Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd played a important role in finalizing the design of the bridge, he added.
Given the height, extreme weather conditions and gales that often hit the valley, the sophisticated automatic signaling system installed on both sides will prevent trains from crossing the bridge if the wind speed there reaches 90 km/h.
Insisting on quality and safety, a NABL laboratory has been set up at the Afcons site to monitor quality at all stages, welding sample testing, etc. time in the country.
Access roads to the project site helped generate local jobs while providing connectivity to several remote villages in the region, fabrication work was carried out in workshops at both ends with the heavy and bulky segments transported to the launch pad using a specialized modular trailer, says Rajagopalan.
The Afcons engineering team also designed a launch platform with a segment lifting capacity of 120 tons for a height of approximately 39 meters, developed and implemented several other innovations to overcome the different challenges dangerous mountainous terrain.
The 272 km long railway line will have 38 tunnels (total length 119 km) including the country’s longest T-49 tunnel (12.75 km), 927 large and small bridges (total length 13 km) and will mark a new era in the development and progress of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.