By Taazakhabar News Bureau
Some 35 metre taller than Eiffel Tower and five times higher than Qutub Minar – the 359 metres (1,177 feet) high, world’s highest rail bridge over river Chenab being constructed at a cost of INR 1,250 crore — as a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) Project in J&K — is nothing short of an enginering miracle.
This 1.3-km-long railway bridge will form a crucial link in the 111-km-long stretch between Katra and Banihal, which is a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway project.
The ‘sky-bridge’, as it is often called, is being constructed on the Chenab River upstream of the Salai dam between the villages of Bakkal and Kari.
The bridge, an “engineering marvel” is — expected to have a lifespan of 120 years is designed to withstand earthquakes having magnitude up to eight on the Richter scale and wind speeds up to 260 km/hr.
It’s construction material– Steel is not only more economical but also able to resist temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius and wind speeds above 250 kmph.
Special sensors installed on the bridge will keep track of the wind velocity and are calibrated to stop all train movement as soon as the wind speed exceeds 90 kmph.
The bridge will be made up of 63mm thick special blast-proof steel and reinforced concrete pillars, it is designed to withstand any terrorist explosion. To add to its safety, security and durability, the bridge will be painted with a special corrosion- resistant paint manufactured in Japan that lasts for at least 35 years. Normally the paints used in such bridges last only five years.
The foundation of the bridge resting on over 11 concrete and five steel pillars is being erected using two cable cranes, the largest in the world. Some 300 engineers and 1,300 workers are currently working together to complete the project by May 2020.
Made up of 25,000 ton of steel transported by helicopters over difficult terrain, when completed the bridge will surpass the world’s present highest railway bridges– Najiehe (310m) over Sancha River in Guiyang and Shuibai railway bridge (275m) over Beipanjiang River in China’s Guizhou province.
Significantly, a majority of the world’s tallest and highest bridges currently in use all over the world are in China.