The Chenab Bridge in the Indian district of Jammu and Kashmir in India is a steel and concrete arch bridge which is currently under construction between Bakkal and Kauri.
Chenab Bridge – An Engineering Marvel!
Indian Railways has started the construction of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) after taking permission from the government. Once completed, it will be the highest railway bridge in the world, and definitely a big tourism booster in Jammu & Kashmir.
The total height of the Chenab bridge is 359 metres, and its construction work was started during the lockdown period imposed because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The railway ministry has stated that all necessary precautions are being taken during the construction to avoid coronavirus transmission.
One of the most challenging tasks in this project will be the construction of a railway arch bridge over the Chenab River.
The Chenab Railway Bridge is expected to be the first of its kind in the world and one of the most important projects in India’s history. It will also be the largest railway arch bridge in the world.
Design and Construction of Chenab Bridge
Chenab Bridge is designed to be a single broad arch of a steel bridge with approach viaducts on either side. The arch is made of big stainless steel trusses and is two-ribbed. The chords are screened, tightened and filled with concrete to help reinforce wind-induced strength on the bridge. Another benefit of concrete construction is that no interior painting will be required for rust prevention.
The following design considerations were taken into account before the construction of Chenab Rail Bridge:
- It has been determined to adopt the state architecture concept according to BS codes.
- Wind load effects estimation according to wind tunnel testing.
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee developed site-specific seísmic spectra.
- Provision of Eurocode 8 for determining the ductility of very high and hollow RCC piers.
- Long welded rail supply (LWR) on bridges and the subsequent force measurement in compliance with UIC – 774 – 3R guidelines.
- Robust and blast-resistant architecture is used.
- Fatigue control in full compliance with BS codes.
- UIC 776-2R and UIC 776-3R guidelines have deformity limits according to convenience criteria.
- Redundancy provided for systems in the case of a failure and collapse for a lower level of activity.
A PTI report quoted the chairman of Konkan Railway, Sanjay Gupta, as saying that construction of the world’s tallest railway bridge connecting Kashmir with the rest of India by rail will be completed by December next year. According to Gupta, the bridge is part of a larger “Kashmir Corridor” project, the country’s largest rail infrastructure project.
But once it’s completed, it’s going to be a technical miracle.
Unique Features of Chenab Bridge
The Chenab Bridge is an architectural marvel and will be the highest railway bridge in the world and the first of its kind in India. Built over Chenab river in Jammu & Kashmir, the Chenab Bridge has following dimensions:
- Deck height (height above river bed): 359 m, (height above river surface): 322 m
- Bridge length: 1,315 m, including the 650 m long viaduct on the northern side
- Arch span: 467 m
- Arch length: 480 m
Some of the interesting facts about the Chenab bridge are:
- Chenab bridge is the highest rail viaduct in the world.
- It links the Kashmir valley directly to the Jammu region via railways.
- The Chenab bridge has been constructed to withstand 40.4 kilograms of TNT explosion and magnitude 8 earthquake.
- Chenab bridge will be the highest railway bridge in India, once constructed. It will also be the world’s highest railway bridge.
- Blasts of very high intensity cannot damage any of the bridge pillars.
- The concrete pillars of the bridge are built to withstand explosions and have a distinctive, 15 years long corrosion-resistant painting.
- AECOM is proof checking the design and drawings as well as providing supervision and technical guidance at the site for design and construction. It is one of the Chenab bridge construction companies.
The bridge is a critical and the toughest link between Katra and Banihal on the 111 km-long rail connection project between Udhampur-Srinagar and Baramulla.
Total Cost to Build Chenab Bridge
The bridge, worth Rs 12,000 crore, is being built with 63 mm-thick special blast-proof steel.
The entire project has a length of 345 km, of which the Chenab Bridge is a key component, and the bridge will be included in the first phase of construction of a new railway line between Katra and Banihal.
The Chenab Bridge, which will be taller than the Eiffel Tower, is considered a technical milestone for the railway, as the terrain in Kashmir is much more complicated.
Importance of Chenab Bridge for J&K and India
“It’s a bridge that won’t merely connect us with our relatives. It’s a bridge of hope that will narrow the gap between Jammu and the Kashmir Valley,” said a Kashmiri resident.
The 136-km Banihal-Baramulla railway line has always been a target for stone pelters and terrorists. Keeping that in mind, this bridge is terror-proof to be sure. The government of India and the Indian Railways have taken into consideration that the Chenab bridge is located just 60 km from the LoC with Pakistan, so it could be a potential target for terrorists. They even factored in the possibility of aerial attacks.
Chenab bridge is the world’s tallest railway line, and it will prove to be a game-changer in the ongoing struggle between the government and rebel forces in Jammu & Kashmir. It will allow Indian army troops to go to the valley from the Jammu region quickly and easily. The bridge will not only be beneficial for Kashmiris but the Indian government as well, as it will allow them to control the region and avoid any clashes with rebellions.
If you’re planning to travel to Jammu & Kashmir, check the train schedule and train time table and plan your itinerary for a comfortable journey.