World’s Highest Railway Bridge in Chenab gets its Golden Joint
The world’s highest rail bridge over Chenab in the Kouri area of Reasi has achieved another milestone! The overarch deck of the bridge has been completed with a golden joint. The golden joint shall now pave the way for engineers to lay tracks on the bridge. With it, Kashmir will be linked with the rest of India via rail network for the first time since Independence. The engineers faced several challenges but have at last gifted an engineering marvel to the people of India. “Chenab Railway Bridge site is extremely remote. The nearest access point where a 40 ft trailer could reach was about 50 km away. We had to start by creating proper access. Extensive surveys and trial runs were done to find out what size of material could be transported. For some components which had to be fabricated off-site and then brought to the site, the dimensioning had to be incorporated into the design accordingly. Besides, the challenging geology, the terrain, and the hostile climate kept the challenges coming even during the execution,” says Giridhar Rajagopalan, Deputy Managing Director, Afcons Infrastructure. “The entire bridge was constructed with the highest safety and quality standards. The project clocked over 10 million safe man hours, which is a landmark safety record,” he adds. When complete, the Chenab Bridge will be 35 m higher than the Eiffel Tower and will be a crucial link in the 111-km stretch from Katra to Banihal which is being developed as part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway Project. As part of the construction process of the bridge, 28,660 million tonne steel fabrication was carried out by the workers along with 1 million cu m earthwork, 66,000 cu m concrete, and 26 km motorable roads. “After the golden joint has been completed, we can probably say the bridge is about 98 per cent complete. We plan to finish the balance work by the end of this year. The entire project cost is close to `15 billion,” Rajagopalan says.