JAMMU/NEW DELHI: Indian engineers created history on Monday by completing the arch of the world’s highest railway bridge on Chenab river in J&K, which is 35 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower in France. The completion of the blast proof arch now paves the way for expediting the direct rail link to the Valley from the rest of India.
Officials said this was the most challenging project the railways had ever undertaken and the most critical portion of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link, whose construction started in 2004. Ashutosh Gangal, general manger of Northern Railway, said what currently takes 12 hours by road (Katra-Banihal), will take half the time after completion of the bridge. He said the bridge is likely to be completed in a year and the entire rail link would be completed in two and a half years.
He said the arch consists of steel boxes in which concrete will be filled to improve stability while the stay cables which are presently holding the arch will be removed.
He said the overall weight of the arch is 10,619 metric tonnes and the arch work was done by overhead cable cranes for the first time by Indian Railways. PM Narendra Modi lauded the achievement and tweeted, “This feat of construction not only showcases the growing prowess of India in the field of modern engineering and technology but also is an example of changing work culture marked by the ethos of ‘sankalp se siddhi’.”