Chenab bridge news: Indian Railways will soon have the world's highest railway bridge! The 1.315-km long, Chenab bridge is being built above the Chenab river at a height of 359 metres in Jammu and Kashmir. Interestingly, the arch bridge is 35 metres taller than the famous Eiffel tower in Paris! The Chenab bridge forms a crucial part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project. Recently, a Northern Railway official told Financial Express Online that currently, the arch erection for the Chenab bridge is in progress. So far, 83% of the development work has been completed. The official also said that for the overall completion of the Chenab bridge project, the deadline is March 2021.
Considering the terrorism-prone region, Indian Railways and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are working to make sure that the bridge can withstand any major blast. Thus, the bridge, worth Rs 12,000 crore, is being built with 63 mm-thick special blast-proof steel.
The Chenab bridge has been designed by consultants from Finland and Germany. The concrete pillars of the bridge have been designed to withstand explosions and for this, it will include a 1.2 metre-wide central verge and a 14 metre-wide dual carriageway. Also, it is being said that the arch bridge would be able to bear earthquake forces of zone V, even though the area falls under zone IV.
In a bid to enhance safety, a "ring of aerial security" is also being provided to protect the Chenab bridge. For the safety of passengers and trains, an online monitoring and warning system will also be installed on the Chenab bridge. Also, cycle trails and footpaths will be built adjacent to it. Around 24,000-plus tonnes of steel will be utilized for the construction of the bridge. Steel is being used as an inclusive material as it is more economical and can take temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius.
Indian Railways is also likely to build around 22 km of roads to reach the site of the bridge. Additionally, a ropeway is also being installed on the bridge for maintenance purposes.