The construction of the arch of the world’s highest railway bridge that soars 359 metres above the bed of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir was completed last week, with the Northern Railways zone of Indian Railways terming the achievement a milestone.
The 1.3-kilometre-long bridge aims to boost connectivity to the Kashmir Valley and it is being constructed at a cost of ₹1,486 crore as part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project.
In a statement, the Railway Ministry said that this was one of the most difficult parts of the bridge over the Chenab and this achievement is a major leap towards the completion of the 111-km-long winding stretch from Katra to Banihal.
“It is arguably the biggest civil engineering challenge faced by any railway project in India in recent history. The 5.6-metre last piece of metal was fitted at the highest point today and joined the two arms of the arch that currently stretch towards each other from both the banks of the river,” the statement said. This completed the shape of the arch that will then loom over the treacherous Chenab, flowing some 359 meters below.
“After completion of the arch work, removal of the stay cables, filling of the concrete in the arch rib, erection of the steel trestle, launching of the viaduct and track laying work will be taken up,” the statement said.
The completion of the historic arch work was also seen by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma and General Manager, Northern Railway, Ashutosh Gangal, through video conferencing.
“This bridge is 1,315 metres long and the highest railway bridge in the world being 359 metres above the river bed level. It will be 35 meters higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris,” the Ministry said.