Guess what will make India a favorite destination for global tourists next year? It is none other than the mesmerizing, hidden-in-the-cloud Chenab Bridge, which is not only one of the most special projects of the Ministry of Indian Railways and the Kashmir tourism sector but also the world’s highest single-arch railway bridge. Inaugurated in August 2022, this infrastructural marvel will forever link Kashmir Valley to the rest of the country for the first time since India’s Independence.
As one of the leading Ladakh news platforms, we take this opportunity to share a few facts about the uniquely-arched Chenab Bridge.
Facts About the ‘Golden Joint’ Over the Chenab River
Where and Why is the Chenab Bridge Built?
- The Indian Railways constructed the Chenab Bridge as part of the 272-km long USBRL project (Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway link).
- The bridge rests above the Rive Chenab in the Kouri region of the Reasi district
- It strategically connects Srinagar to the rest of the country, making Jammu and Kashmir tourism more lucrative and accessible to tourists. Sixteen other bridges are being constructed apart from the Chenab Bridge to improve the connection.
- The bridge is 1.315km long and stands at a height of 359m or 1178 feet above the river bed.
- It is the world’s highest railway bridge, not-so-surprisingly 35 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
- The bridge’s lifespan is expected to be at least 120 years.
Details Underline the Construction and Building Process
- The bridge comprises 93 deck segments, each weighing about 83 tons.
- The construction was carried out by the Northern Railway of India, the northernmost zone of the Indian railways.
- 28,660 million tonnes of steel, 10 lakh cubic meters of earth, 66k cubic meters of concrete, and 26 km of motorable roads have been utilized to build the Chenab Bridge.
- The design of the bridge is dated 120 years back. And the cost of the construction is reported to be around INR 1486 Crore, making the Golden Joint one of the costliest bridges ever constructed.
- The most difficult part of the project was finishing the Steel Arch, which connects the 111km long stretch of the Katra and Banihal towns.
- The Arch alone weighs 10619 million tons. Concrete-filled steel boxes are fitted to increase the stability and strength of the mountain slopes that support the foundation.
- On 5th April 2022, the last piece of the steel arch was fitted at the highest point (359 m) to join the two arms of the arch. However, rail racks installation work will take another year to complete.
How Engineers Improved Its Performance and Efficiency
- The overarch deck’s segments are joined using High Strength Friction Grip (HSFG) bolts to mark the significant Golden Joint. The nickname Golden Joint was given by civil engineers working on the project.
- Due to the deep gorge under the bridge, the wind is a serious threat and can injure the stability of the structure.
- National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) set up camp to monitor the site for quality, test samples, and inspect welds.
- Advanced wind tunnel tests were conducted in Denmark to ascertain the speed and wind velocity. Using steel and heavy-duty alloy ensures the bridge withstands a wind speed of up to 266/km per hour.
- An automatic signaling installed on both sides of the bridge will stop trains from passing if the wind speed crosses 90kmph.
- Since the bridge is built in an earthquake-prone Seismic Zone IV, various seismic analyses were performed by experts from top IITs, including IIT-Delhi, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, and IIT-Roorkee.
- Based on their research, the bridge was built to endure a Seismic Zone V-level earthquake, which is the country's highest intensity of earthquake force.
- The Kashmir Valley is also unpopular for its mine blasts. After consulting India’s premier research agency, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Chenab Bridge was designed to be blast-proof.
By 2024, the Kashmir Tourism sector expects to see trains crossing the Chenab Bridge with tourists on the way to Srinagar. So, we are as excited as you to see Kashmir Valley from a spectacular viewpoint.
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