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World’s highest rail bridge to come up in J&K by 2016

The highest rail bridge in the world is coming up in Jammu and Kashmir at the height of 359 metres above bed level. Coming up at Kauri, it will be 359 metres (1,180 feet) above the riverbed and will be five times the height of Qutub Minar and 35 metres taller than Eiffel Tower.

The bridge is being built in Reasi district of the valley on Chenab river and would be known as Chenab bridge. Railways is working in one of the most challenging project where sites are inaccessible and very difficult from logistic and topographic considerations and involves construction of large network of access roads to approach the sites of work.

The arch-shaped bridge across the Chenab river-bed in Reasi district will connect Baramulla and Srinagar to Jammu via Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund covering the entire route in about seven hours. ‘We plan to complete it by December 2016, a year before the entire Udhampur-Baramulla stretch is commissioned,’ CAO of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project, B D Garg said.

Railway officials are busy camping at the site for monitoring the project and the area near the site has started getting attraction, with shops coming around the area which was till before the railway project a completely remote area. Before starting work on the bridge, the Railways had to prepare approach roads which has also immensely benefitted the locals.

This bridge will have several unique features. The design would ensure that it withstands blast and seismic activities, while the signalling arrangements would ensure the train does not encounter high wind velocity at that height. An anemometer has been provided at the bridge site which will measure wind speed at the bridge site and will interlock train movement over the bridge automatically if there is any wind above the prescribed speed. Trains can cruise at 100 kmph on the structure, which would have a life span of 120 years.

Officials said that the highest rail bridge of the world will have all kinds of safety aspects in place so that it could withstand weather and terror attacks. The design has been made in a way that even if an element is removed from the structure, traffic could still remain open, running at a restricted speed of 30 kmph. If one of the columns gives way, the deck would not collapse. It would be possible to restore the bridge for normal operation after carrying out the required repairs.

‘We are taking into consideration everything related with the safety of the bridge and doing all the needful. We are using the best technology in the world. There would be many first in the bridge. This bridge would also be able to withstand 40 kgs of blast,’ Garg said.
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