Two engineering marvels — the world’s tallest railway bridge over Chenab River in Kouri area and India’s first cable-stayed rail bridge — are coming up in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. While the bridge over Chenab will be ready by March, the rail bridge will come up in December 2022.
The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) is building the Chenab bridge over a challenging 111km-stretch under the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project. The bridges will connect the Valley with the rest of the country through railways. The project is being built at a cost of ₹27,949.
An official of the Northern Railways, requesting anonymity, said, “Covering a stretch of around 111km in Jammu’s Katra-Banihal section, the bridge is being constructed 359m above Chenab’s river bed. It will be 35m higher than the Eiffel Tower (324m).”
The length of the Chenab bridge will be 1,315 metres with 17 spans, of which the span of the main arch across Chenab river will be 467m. The viaduct portion comprises a straight and curved portion. The curvilinear portion is located on a 2.74-degree sharp curve.
“For the first time in India, continuous welded girder steel has been used in the curvature.For construction of the arch of the bridge, a novel method of construction, which used a cable car, has been designed and commissioned. Two cable cars with a capacity of 20 metric ton each and 37 metric tons in tandem run on the 54 mm cables laid across the river valley and are connected through a 127m high pylon (tower) on Kauri-end and a 105m pylon on Bakkal-end of the river. Both pylons are 927m apart,” said the official.
Around 27,051 metric tonnes structural steel has been used to build the bridge. “The launching of the main arch is a noteworthy endeavour as it entails carrying heavy segments (up to 32 metric ton) from the Srinagar-end of the workshop with the help of the world’s longest cable crane arrangement and executing work from both ends (Bakkal and Kauri).”
“So far, around 90% of the main arch has been built. Of 550m, only 58m is left and we are confident of completing this engineering marvel by March this year,” the official said.
The bridge has also been designed to deter terror activities in consultation with the defence research and development organisation (DRDO). All geological challenges have been successfully negotiated.
The Anji Bridge will be the country’s first cable-stayed bridge.It is around 80km from Jammu. The bridge posed a considerable challenge to engineers. In view of site conditions, the bridge has been divided into three parts — a 120m-long approach viaduct (called ancillary viaduct) on Reasi side, main bridge, crossing the deep valley (473.25m cable-stayed portion) and central embankment (94.25m), located between the main bridge and an approach (ancillary) viaduct.
Anji Bridge has a single main pylon at a height of 193m from the top of foundation. It stands at a height of 331m above the river bed. The total length of bridge is 687m. It comprises a main bridge with a length of 473.25m.
It will be an asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge balanced on the axis of a central pylon. The deck width of the bridge is 15m. The Anji Khad Bridge has support of 96 cables and has a cable length varying from 82m to 295m. Micro piles of 40m depth around the circumference of the 20 metre hybrid well foundation was used in the main pylon construction. The Anji Bridge has been designed to handle heavy storms and strong winds.